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Sen. Carper pushes for reform on Central American diplomacy

Courtesy Office of Sen. Tom Carper

Sen. Tom Carper visited El Paso, Texas this week to examine the conditions of migrant facilities along the U.S. / Mexico border.


Carper led of group of other congress members to El Paso to tour a few facilities housing undocumented migrant children.


Carper says he’s noticed a significant improvement in the handling of the facilities since visits during the Trump Administration. 


He especially noted the time it takes to get kids reunited with their family members in the U.S. He says it’s now down to 3-5 days after many children’s arrival. 


Credit Courtesy Office of Sen. Tom Carper
The congressional delegation also took a tour of the border wall



But according to NPR, border patrol agents are overwhelmed with the number of migrant children in their custody, nearly 5,000 children have been reported to be sleeping in harsh, cramped conditions for days on end.


Carper says work needs to happen now to relieve the strain on border resources.


“Rather than have to travel for hundreds of miles to get to the border, maybe make it, maybe not — maybe being abused on the way, they ought to be able to apply for asylum in their own countries, that is one of the key things we oughta be doing," he says.


But, Carper says the migrant crisis won’t stop without addressing the root causes — why so many people are leaving Central America.


He blames—in part—the U.S. and poor diplomacy, especially during the Trump Administration.


“We need ambassadors, we need excellent ambassadors, we need career ambassadors, confirmed by the Senate, nominated by the president," Carper says. "They need to be surrounded by an excellent team. And the idea that we don’t have that in Honduras for three years is just shameful.”


Credit Courtesy Office of Sen. Tom Carper
Delaware Public Media
Carper speaks about his trip to El Paso outside the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington



Carper says America has only fueled drug wars in Central American countries,  and that working with these countries in a similar way to Columbia back in the early 2000’s will help encourage these migrants to stay in their home countries.


He says he’ll be pushing for increased focus on improving conditions in the Northern Triangle countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras through the Alliance for Prosperity partnership developed by then Vice President Biden in 2014.


Carper says he’ll be meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris next week to encourage action on addressing the root causes of this migration crisis from Central American countries.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.