WASHINGTON — The White House Monday announced nearly $1 billion in investments to address economic causes of migration in several Central American countries, an effort being spurred by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Spread over several years, 10 private companies from Target to Nestlé are pledging $950 million to create economic development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The plan is an attempt to curb economic-related migration at the U.S.-Mexico border by creating opportunities in those countries, senior administration officials said on Monday during a call with reporters.
“These efforts to address the root causes of migration represent a long-term development effort that will take time, but we’re already beginning to see some positive trends,” a senior administration official said.
In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020, people from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico made up a majority of migrants at the Southern border.
But that is not the case now and a majority of migrants — 63% — since November 2022 were from other countries such as Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Biden administration has continued the use — through court orders — of the controversial Title 42 policy, which was implemented by the Trump administration in the early stages of the pandemic to bar migrants from claiming asylum.
As a result, more than 2 million migrants have been turned away at the U.S. border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. The U.S. Supreme Court later this month will decide whether to keep the policy in place.
Initiative totals $4.2B
Monday’s announcement builds from a May 2021 initiative Harris launched, known as the Call to Action, bringing the total amount of public-private partnership investments to $4.2 billion from 47 companies, senior administration officials said.
The Call to Action has six main focus areas. They include supporting long-term development of the region such as promoting a reform agenda; digital and financial inclusion; food security that takes into account climate change for resilient agriculture and clean energy; education and workforce development; public health access; and strengthening democracy and combating corruption. Read more