“It’s bad for both of us”: El Salvador president criticizes high level of immigration from Latin America to U.S.

“It’s bad for both of us”: El Salvador president criticizes high level of immigration from Latin America to U.S.
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, says that the high levels of immigration to the United States are bad for both the U.S. and nations in Latin America, which he says are being deprived of the manpower and brain trust they need to build strong economies in those countries. 

Speaking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday, Bukele said that the migrant surge is caused by three main factors, including a lack of economic opportunities, a lack of security and incentives to migrate to the United States, many of which have been made possible by the Biden administration following President Joe Biden’s entry into the Oval Office. 

“They like their culture, they like their food. They like their weather. I mean, it’s their country, they have their family members here, their friends, they leave, most people leave their country because of two main reasons. And those are the two main reasons. And if you add up the civil war we had in the 80s, well, that was the main driver at the beginning. And then you have people, you know, that have cousins over there. And then the cousins say, oh, come here, you will have a job here,” said Bukele.

“And there’s relative security, based on what you have over there and what you have here. And so those are the main drivers of immigration that our country has failed to provide security and economic opportunity. So people leave, so people leave,” he added. 

Bukele suggested that border policies and the lack of immigration enforcement by American federal authorities are a major factor in the surge to the United States.

Historically, El Salvadorans have fled the country for the United States due to violent crime caused by gangs including MS-13, which Bukele says the country has managed to finally get a handle on. 

“If you don’t provide for your people, economic opportunities, if your economy is doing bad, if your security is doing bad, people are going to leave, and you’re going to go and try to find a rich country, right? They’re not going to leave for Guatemala. They want to go to the United States,” Bukele told Carlson. “So, that makes this country dependent on immigration because you become a net exporter of people. You’re not exporting products or services, you’re exporting people.”

“So, that makes your economy dependent on that because those people send money back to their home countries which is not a good economic formula,” Bukele added. “That makes the economies dependent on that. So, when you keep this country dependent on that, the economy is like a vicious cycle, so it’s bad for the United States because immigration will go up and it’s bad for our country because people leaving the country will go as well so it’s bad for both of us.”

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