Vice President Joe Biden, who will be in Guatemala on Friday to meet with President Otto Perez Molina and other leaders from the region, is likely to raise the issue of repatriation numbers. He's expected to hear something very different in return.

"He's going to be told, 'you need to reform your immigration system,'" said Eric Olson, associate director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Reached in El Salvador Thursday, Olson said, "They are going to say, our kids should be able to be reunified with their families in the United States without having to make this dangerous journey."


The Wilson Center's Olson said that even though the United States has a strong protocol in place for the repatriation of Mexican nationals, it is not a plan to be emulated.

"It's not a very well-thought-out process," he said. "We repatriate Mexicans who crossed in California and Arizona in nighttime deportations from South Texas to Reynosa, where they know nobody. They're dumped off in the middle of the night at a time when they're vulnerable ... they have no place to go and they're sitting ducks for organized crime."

He said the Central American countries of origin, similarly, are worried that if the minors are returned with no point of contact, "They'll be turned loose to the gangs."


Eric L. Olson, Associate Director of the Latin American Program, is quoted in this article by Viva Colorado about Central American migration, the United States' "migrant return policy," and how Central American countries are wary of accepting large groups of returned immigrants.

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