U.S. policy is equally generous to unaccompanied children (UAC) from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua – but today’s child migrants are not coming from Nicaragua. Explaining why Nicaraguan UAC are not part of the recent surge may help explain why so many are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras - the so-called Northern Triangle.
Nicaragua has low rates of violent crime, gang membership, and fewer family connections to the United States than the Northern Triangle. If U.S. policy was the main reason why there is a sudden surge of UAC, it should also pull UAC from Nicaragua. This suggests that other factors like the high levels of violence and strong family connections are the main reasons why UAC from the Northern Triangle are coming and why Nicaraguan UAC are absent.
Nicaragua has a much lower homicide rate than El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. According to the United Nations, there has been a dramatic increase in murder rates across Central America since 2006 – except in Nicaragua.
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime https://www.unodc.org/gsh/en/data.htm.