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Trump admin erects billboards in Central America, warns potential migrants, ‘things have changed in the U.S.’

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The Trump administration is moving ahead with efforts to erect billboards in Central America targeting potential migrants.

Billboards in Guatemala and El Salvador, and advertising panels on bus stops in Honduras, are being unveiled this week warning would-be migrants about the dangers of illegally traveling to the U.S., Fox News reported.

(File photo: YouTube screenshot)

“The message that we’re sending is that the pathway to the United States illegally is a futile journey,” a senior State Department official said.

“The road to the USA has become more dangerous. Don’t put your children at risk. Give them the security they deserve,” the billboards read.

Similar advertising campaigns have been used in the past but thousands of Central Americans continue to make the trip each month in an effort to escape the violence and poverty they face in their homelands. The current State Department endeavor is part of a wider campaign effort which includes radio advertising and social media outreach from U.S. embassy staffers in the areas.

The billboards and signs in the U.S. advertising campaign also include information about the increased border security measures employed between the United States and Mexico and the U.S. agreements with Central American countries that allow the deportation of asylum-seeking migrants.

“Things have changed in the United States. If you get to the border, we have stronger border security there,” the State Department official told Fox News. “The likelihood of being turned away and returned to your country of origin or to somewhere else is a lot greater.”

Apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border have dropped for the eighth consecutive month, thanks to the Trump administration’s “successful” policies, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Border Patrol apprehensions each month have dropped nearly 75 percent since last May and the CBP noted that 61 percent of the migrants apprehended at the southwest border are from Mexico, whereas last year, 61 percent were from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 To Date (TD), during the month of January, a total of 29,200 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry on our Southwest Border, compared to 32,857 in December and 33,514 in November,” CBP reported.

While Trump’s critics will use the latest advertising campaign efforts as more reasons to condemn the U.S. policy on illegal immigration, former President Obama’s administration launched an initiative using advertising to discourage migrants from illegally coming to the U.S.

Billboards and public service announcements for radio and television stations were employed in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras during the campaign launched in 2014.

The Trump administration’s latest billboard campaign was met with applause by many Twitter users.

Frieda Powers

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