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The humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border is only getting worse in the heat of summer, with 100,000 migrants illegally crossing monthly and more than 300,000 asylum cases pending. It is a reaction to extreme violence, poverty and agricultural failures in Central America, notably in the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, from where the vast majority of the migrants begin the long, dangerous journey to the Rio Grande River. How can we solve this problem?

I was born in south Florida, where we had our own refugee crises of the Mariel boatlift from Cuba and the Haitian refugee flows of the early 1980s. When I headed the United States Southern Command, in charge of all military activity in the Western Hemisphere south of the U.S., I visited the border shared with Mexico, and spent significant time in all of the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. A big part of my job was dealing with the flow of migrants, as well as narcotics, around the region.

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