Video: Central American Prosperity and Security

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner and other experts discussed how best to address the root causes of the migratory wave.


  •     Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  •     Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas


  •     Alejandro Alemán, Professor of Practice and Governance Lead, Perry Center/CHDS, National Defense University
  •     Eric Olson, Director, Central America-DC Platform, Seattle International Foundation 
  •     Kristin Tennyson, Director, Western Hemisphere Affairs, Foreign Service Institute 
  •     Nick Miroff, Reporter, The Washington Post (moderator)

A scarcity of economic opportunities, poor governance, and insecurity are all factors driving Central Americans to leave their countries in hopes of a better life in Mexico and the United States. A panel of experts at an AS/COA in Washington, DC, discussed the best ways to address the root causes of the migratory wave and the prospects for a U.S.-Mexico partnership to rectify the situation. For such a deal to come to fruition, both countries will need common objectives, said Alejandro Alemán, adding that the new Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would also have to be willing to make migration a domestic issue rather than one of foreign policy.

Before the panel, COA’s Eric Farnsworth interviewed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about the current situation at the border and what comes next. McAleenan laid out how to address emigration from Central America and depoliticize the issue to continue a long history of partnership with Mexico on border security.