American officials are bracing for an "unprecedented" migrant wave they believe will come to the United States resulting from the global economic impact of coronavirus pandemic.
John Barsa, acting administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the Washington Examiner that the U.S. government is "absolutely" concerned about an overwhelming migrant crisis as citizens from Latin America seek economic stability within U.S. borders.
Migrant crises helped define U.S. immigration policy in the last decade. Both the Obama and Trump administration searched for unique ways to handle pressing migrant issues at the border — but the coming crisis might be one the government has never seen.
In fact, one source who spoke with the Examiner said the government is preparing for an "unprecedented" migrant push.
"You're going to have millions and millions of Latin Americans out of jobs, with governments too broke to provide even the meager social safety nets they have," the senior official said. "How do you measure the number of refugees that come out of that level of devastation? You can't put a number on it, but it's reasonable to say that it would be completely unprecedented."
However, there is one possible way to prevent such a situation, though it would mean bad news for Americans.
Another U.S. official who spoke with the Examiner said a migrant push to the U.S. would be unlikely if the American economy — which is experiencing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression — continues to crater.
And unfortunately, the prospect of skyrocketing unemployment is a very real possibility, according to top White House economic advisers.
To stymie a possible crisis, Barsa said his agency is working to provide aid for nations who may be disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 economic fallout.
"The activities we're doing already address economic development issues. So what we're seeing with the COVID pandemic, as countries have greater economic challenges, we may have to double down and help them more on an economic development front," he explained.