Tens of thousands of children flee gang violence in Central America each year, using “el tren de la muerte,” or the Death Train, to travel thousands of miles. Considering the difficult circumstances at home, this dangerous trek is often considered worth the high risks. Source: John Moore, Getty Images

Since last October, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended over sixty thousand children fleeing abysmal conditions in Central America. These numbers represent an exponential increase in the number of unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the United States each year from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. While some politicians have labeled the situation as a pressing national security issue, others have used it as a platform to advocate for immigration reform. However, neither argument offers long-term solutions because they do not mitigate the structural problems in Central America that are causing this mass immigration. Washington must treat the state of affairs in Central America as a humanitarian crisis and provide sufficient relief in order to proactively avert the regional violence that propels the surge of Latino children towards our borders.