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Trump inherited a big surge in Central American asylum seekers

Here's the reality that greets President Trump's hard-line immigration promises: more people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico were granted asylum in the U.S. than from any other nation except China in fiscal year 2016.

Data: Department of Homeland Security; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: The uptick in immigrants from Central America began around 2014 due to rampant violence and gang activity in the area, Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, told Axios. But these waves of immigration also have a snowball effect, she explained — because as Central Americans find asylum in the U.S., there's an incentive for family and friends to join them.