Salvadoran president tells Tucker: Mass immigration 'not profitable,' 'feeding on dependency'

President of El Salvador talks immigration crisis with Tucker Carlson

‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host speaks exclusively with President Nayib Bukele about immigration to the United States

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that his government is as concerned about the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border as many people in America.

Bukele, a member of the center-right Nueva Ideas Party, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” mass emigration from Latin American countries to the United States is grounded in two concerns: economic opportunity and security.

Bukele said that in his nearly two years in office he has worked to improve both conditions for the people of El Salvador, but that there is much more ground to make up. He told Carlson that his government’s improvements are however borne out in the observation that there are much fewer “caravans” of migrants heading through Mexico from El Salvador than from neighboring Honduras or Guatemala.

“It is obvious, our country has failed to provide two basic things which are the two main drivers of immigration which are the lack of economic opportunity and a lack of security,” he said. “[But] most people don’t want to leave their country. They like their country, their food, weather, it is their country. And they have their family members here and their friends.”

He said that the U.S. had become a draw for many of his citizens because it offered both key elements he mentioned prior.

Bukele however warned that mass immigration is “not profitable” for either country involved.

“First, it is immoral — you need to provide for your people. But, you also have an economic issue. If you send hardworking people and talented people and people who want to risk it just to go to work, you want to keep them here because those will be the drivers of your economy. You don’t want them there so that they can send a remittance, which would be a small portion of what they would earn and produce; you want them to produce here.”

“You are talking about problems that have been here in El Salvador and a lot of countries in Latin America for decades. This immigration thing is just feeding on dependency on immigration in the countries that drive it. So it is not good for the United States, and it is not good for El Salvador.”

Bukele added that countries with what he characterized as net exports of people through immigration are hurt economically by that movement. 

Instead of exporting goods and services, he said, by exporting potential workers, they will end up basing part of their economy on the “remittances” sent by immigrants who become employed in the United States back to their family in Latin America.

“The best thing for both of us is to keep our people here and provide for our people right here in our country. That is what people here want,” he said.

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