The so-called Northern Triangle of Central America is comprised of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. People from these three countries are the main group bearing down on the southern United States border. According to the Pew Research Center based in Washington, D.C., illegal Mexican immigration to the U.S. has decreased in the last few years, while it has increased for people migrating from the Northern Triangle. The main reason for such high numbers of migrants is extreme criminal violence that has become embedded in their communities.

Many people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who cross the United States border are not technically immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, then, but people who have lived under threat in their home countries. These are potential humanitarian refugees. The right to asylum is the main variable in this drama.