To The Editor,

As they trek together toward the United States, a few thousand migrants from Central America could end up doing more than pose a crisis at our border.

Or the mass exodus has the potential to build a better partnership between the U.S. and Mexico in addressing the “push factors” that drive such people to leave home.

To be sure, part of any new U.S.-Mexican cooperation should include enhanced enforcement of immigration laws as well as adherence to treaties regarding refugees. The U.S. is justified in seeking to keep its border from being overwhelmed by unregulated flows of people.

To say that Mexico will pay for a border wall is wrong, and does not prompt cooperation. To build the wall that will fail like all previous walls in history is a waste of dollars.

What we need is a long-lasting solution that includes incentives for people in the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) to not take such a perilous journey.

Media coverage of the migrant caravan makes clear that the vast majority are poor and merely seek a better life. They are not criminals or terrorists. Some may qualify as refugees.

Already, both the current president of Mexico and the incoming one have magnanimously offered to support the migrants who want to stay and work in Mexico. The U.S. needs to help Mexico do this.

President Trump needs to help develop, in both Central America and Mexico, a program of cooperation that addresses poverty and border security.

Mr. Trump’s plans to bolster U.S. border security hardly begins to address the core issues. A far better move would be solutions that improve long-term cooperation with Mexico that wants to become a better partner with the United States.

Charles G. Coy

Washington