Tens of thousands of Central American children, some accompanied by adults but most traveling alone, have surged across the U.S.-Mexican border in recent months.

This humanitarian crisis, which is how President Obama has described it, is both divisive and frustrating, and finding long-term solutions will require a broad and nuanced understanding of the problem.

The United States should be involved in those solutions because it is more than just a wealthy country that attracts illegal immigrants; it bears some responsibility of its own for the violence and instability in Central America.

According to a recent report by the independent, nonprofit International Crisis Group, rivalries between drug traffickers and an absence of governmental control along the Guatemala-Honduras border have made the area among the most violent in the world. Where are the drugs heading? Primarily to the U.S., where most of the demand for marijuana and cocaine comes from.

The Obama administration is right to seek humane ways of dealing with the influx, including adding immigration judges, lawyers and others crucial to a speedier deportation process. But in addition, the government needs to consider the connections between the American drug users who create the demand that feeds the violent drug cartels, the multinational street gangs and the free flow of illicit weapons across the border.