Approximately half of immigrants living in the United States are from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Many Central Americans are fleeing because of desperate social and economic circumstances created in part by U.S. foreign policy in Central America over many decades. The large number of Central American refugees arriving in the U.S. have been explained as "blowback" to policies such as U.S. military interventions and covert operations that installed or maintained in power authoritarian leaders allied with wealthy land owners and multinational corporations who crush family farming and democratic efforts, which have caused drastically sharp social inequality, wide scale poverty and rampant crime. Economic austerity dictated by neoliberal policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund and its ally, the U.S., has also been cited as a driver of the dire social and economic conditions, as has the U.S. "War on Drugs," which has been understood as fueling murderous gang violence in the region. "The current debate … is almost totally about what to do about immigrants when they get here. But the 800-pound gorilla that's missing from the table is what we have been doing there that brings them here, that drives them here," according to Jeff Faux, an economist who is a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute.