Former President Ronald Reagan's secretary of state George Shultz says the Trump administration should take action to relieve the conditions in Central America driving migrants to the U.S. rather than demonizing the migrants themselves.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Shultz, along with former Mexican Treasury Secretary Pedro Aspe, wrote that policy actions such as decriminalizing drug use in the United States would reduce drug cartel-related violence in countries such as Honduras and El Salvador, where many are forced to leave their homelands for the U.S. every year.
"The United States would do well to study the example of Portugal, which has found success by taking a demand-oriented approach to drug control," Shultz writes, referring to Portugal's 2001 decriminalization of drug use.
"If the United States were to adopt this approach, people would increasingly go to free, well-vetted drug treatment centers, and the illegal drug market in this country would gradually disappear, as would profits going south to the drug lords," he continues.
Drug-related violence, Shultz goes on to say, is the main factor driving Central American migration to the U.S., and should be confronted by stripping cartel lords of their finances and markets in the U.S.
"Instead of blaming the migrants who are fleeing violence and corruption in Central America, we should recognize why they are leaving and do something about it," Shultz writes.
"If we succeed in improving economic conditions and reducing drug-related violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, then we can expect that the citizens of those countries will choose to stay home," he concludes.
President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE and some Republicans focused their campaign rhetoric on immigration ahead of this month's midterm elections, and this week the Trump administration moved to force migrants to remain in Mexico while asylum claims are processed.
The decision by the administration came after a California judge's decision to block a policy from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice stating that migrants who crossed the border illegally could not apply for asylum.