The unaccompanied children crossing the border into the United States are leaving behind mainly 3 Central American countries, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The first two are among the world's most violent and all three have deep poverty, according to a Pew Research report based on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information.
The top three municipalities sending children to the U.S. are all in Honduras. Leading the list is San Pedro Sula, the world's murder capital last year, with a homicide rate of 187 homicides per 100,000 residents, driven mainly by gang and drug trafficking violence. More than 2,200 unaccompanied minors apprehended between January and May of this year - at least 5 percent of all apprehended children since last October - are from San Pedro Sula. Following are Tegucigalpa and Juticalpa, both with more than 800 apprehended children during the same period.
El Salvador ranked second in terms of homicides in Latin America in 2011, and it is still high on the list. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are among the poorest nations in Latin America. Thirty percent of Hondurans, 17 percent of Salvadorans and 26 percent of Guatemalans live on less than $2 a day.
The influx of children crossing the border has nearly doubled in less than a year, triggering what President Obama calls an “urgent humanitarian situation.”