map of central america

President Obama has repeatedly said that migrants from Central America are fleeing the “horrors of violence” and should be treated as refugees.

More than 300 “sanctuary cities” have done just that, laying out the welcome mat and offering shelter from deportation.

Religious groups have also done their part to push the “migrants as refugees” narrative.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the evangelical-based World Relief Corp., Church World Service, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and others have answered the call of the Obama administration, offering shelter, legal aid, advocacy and lobbying, and other mostly government-funded aid to the migrants.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that dozens of churches across the U.S. are mobilizing to expand the “sanctuary movement” to “shelter immigrants fleeing violence in Central America.”

But according to a new report by a Jesuit-run research and social justice center in Honduras, the vast majority of people leaving this country do so primarily for economic reasons, not to flee violence.

The report by the Reflection, Research, and Communication Team (ERIC-SJ in Spanish), is based on a survey of public perceptions of the country’s social, political, and economic situation. The performance of the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez is also taken into account.

The survey confirmed the economic crisis in Honduras as the engine that drives migration. Of the respondents that had a family member who had migrated in the last four years, 77.6 percent cited lack of a job and a search for better opportunities.

Comparatively, 16.9 percent migrated due to violence and insecurity. In comparison, the 2014 ERIC-SJ survey showed that 82.5 percent migrated for the former causes and 11 percent migrated for the latter.

“So while violence and insecurity have grown in importance among causes for migration, they continue to lag far behind economic factors as the primary cause,” wrote Kausha Luna in an analysis of the report for the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.

Luna also noted that the homicide rates in Honduras have been decreasing since 2012.

“However, the Obama administration’s narrative insists that Central Americans are fleeing violence and as such should be welcomed into the United States with open arms as ‘refugees.’ This narrative ignores the economy as the primary push factor for migration, as well as the pull of incentives created by the Obama administration in its refusal to enforce immigration laws.”

WND reported last month that Obama, thwarted by the courts in his effort to grant executive amnesty to millions of illegal migrants, will offer refugee status to the next wave of Central Americans seeking to leave their countries for the United States. This will require them to check in with the United Nations refugee system, where they will be prescreened and qualified for admittance into the U.S. Refugee status will also allow them to qualify for a host of expanded welfare programs.

WND reported Tuesday that the Islamic State, also called ISIS, is exploiting the refugee system and infiltrating Western countries by having its fighters pose as “refugees” from Syria and elsewhere. And the number of persons apprehended at the border from terrorist countries is growing, according to documents leaked to WSB-TV, an Atlanta ABC affiliate.

ERIC-SJ conducted the survey in Honduras Nov. 25 to Dec. 5, 2015, with a national sample of 1,571 questionnaires, which is representative of all Hondurans over 18. The survey has a sampling error of +/- 2.5 percent and a 95 percent confidence level.

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