Nick Miroff+ Your Authors @NickMiroff Washington Post reporter covering immigration enforcement, border security and @DHSgov. Tip? nick.miroff(at)washpost.com/ Nov. 28, 2018 1 min read + Your Authors

Finally have a chance to respond to your thoughtful thread @jdelreal. I realize it's a troubling story and you're concerned about how it could be used for "talking points." I have deep respect for your work but I'm troubled by the implications of that.

This is a complicated, emotional and intensely politicized story. It needs honest open-eyed reporting. Sensitive, humane, yes. But honest. That's our job. So we went to rural Guatemala to report this story and find out why so many children are leaving.

Have you done that, recently? Have you, @itscaitlinhd? Because if you are only talking to migrants who have arrived in the U.S., or families you contact through advocates, then you do not get a full understanding of the forces driving this thing.

If you went to rural Guatemala, as we did, you would find families speaking openly about the calculations they make in weighing the decision to bring a child. Not all of them are passive, two-dimensional victims. They love their kids, yes. They also strategize.

Our story did not claim nor imply massive numbers of migrants are committing fraud. That's WHY we included numbers showing relatively small number of cases. The point of the story was explain why so many children are leaving. And we found smuggler discount that is reinforcing it.

That's new. That's what on-the-ground reporting yields. You dismiss it as a trivial revelation but it's not.

I hear your concerns and take them to heart. But too much coverage, I think, has "flattened" (as you say) migration to a series of cliches and cudgels, ie they're all fleeing violence, or they're criminals. We have to push beyond that, ask difficult questions & report honestly.

I take no pleasure in these types of exchanges. But you guys are calling us out from the vantage of California and DC. And while you're welcome to criticize and challenge our story, I'd suggest, respectfully, that you do a little more reporting first.


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