You want to see a real emergency, Mr. President? Visit me in Honduras.

A week ago, I went with a family to receive the remains of their 16-year-old son, who had been murdered in Mexico. He had traveled as part of a caravan and was killed in Tijuana. We picked up the small coffin at the San Pedro Sula airport and loaded the slight white box into the back of a borrowed, barely running pickup truck. As I drove to the airport with his grandmother that day, her eyes had filled with tears as she told me how his father used to paint his face and take him on the bus, performing simple clown routines, hoping to be given a few lempiras. She also told me how two of her three sons were murdered in their early 20s. The third one was disappeared. An unasked question hung in the air: whether her grandson would have lived to adulthood had he stayed in Honduras.

Human history is one of migration; we are exceptionally good at moving around when the conditions for life become tenuous. Neither walls nor deserts nor oceans have ever deterred us from seeking safer horizons and better opportunities for survival.

Under these circumstances, Hondurans’ drive to seek safety elsewhere is not an emergency; that there may be no place in the world where they are allowed to find refuge is the real crisis.