Many people coming from Latin America today are fleeing decades of civil war, political instability, gang violence, and widespread poverty. The United States has contributed to these unfavorable conditions through two centuries of war, military occupation, covert CIA activity, corporate dominance of infrastructure, and economic neo-imperialism through trade agreements. Central American families and individuals, including solo teenagers, have traveled overland to the US/Mexico border to request asylum in the United States.
Because of successive waves of immigration from Latin America to the US, sometimes for seasonal agricultural work, especially during the era of temporary work visas through the Bracero Program (1946-64), many immigrants from Latin America join family members who have already established lives in the United States. Due to a long shared border with Mexico, high costs, and waits that often take more than a decade, many immigrants from Latin America come to the US without a visa or other documentation.