SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (WFAA) — We know they're coming to America by the thousands — undocumented immigrant children making the dangerous trek from Central America, crossing the border into Texas alone.
As the humanitarian crisis reaches a new peak, we are in San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras, to find out what's driving the surge north to the Texas-Mexico border.
This is a place where childhood ends early. Not only is there grinding poverty, but the big factor in this industrial city is violence — gang violence and drug violence.
San Pedro Sula has the highest per-capita murder rate in the world, and police don't have a lot of resources; sometimes they lack the funds to fuel their vehicles. Police corruption is also a factor.
"It's a serious problem," said a man getting his shoes shined in the public square.
The U.S. State Department warns that the level of crime and violence remains "critically high" in Honduras. "Members of the Honduran National Police have been known to engage in criminal activity, including murder and car theft," the State Department alert said.
Another reason why children are leaving home for the dangerous journey north is to reunite with parents and family members who are living and working in the United States.
Many of the migrant children trek for weeks, seeking a better life.
On Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said most of the unaccompanied minors will eventually be returned to their home countries. Until then, they'll stay in shelters set up by the government.