The president of the United States, Joe Biden, presented his first federal budget on Friday with an ambitious plan to stimulate the country’s finances and strengthen economic ties with other nations of the world.
The document, which needs the approval of Congress for it to be carried out, contemplates several packages of social programs and an increase in investment in issues related to the fight against climate change.
The White House has also focused on Latin America, allocating various budget items to some countries in that region on issues that the US government considers strategic.
The immigration situation in Central America has been one of the issues addressed by the Biden executive in his first days in office. The president’s commitment was to create the foundations to promote a sustainable economy, quell violence, and promote attractive financial projects so that Central Americans would not be forced to leave their countries and undertake a “dangerous journey” through the region until they reached the United States border.
The document for fiscal year 2022 intends to allocate 861 million dollars to the project in Central America, which is almost double what was allocated in fiscal year 2021 by former President Donald Trump.
That budget item would have to do with the 4,000 million dollars that Joe Biden announced to combat the migration crisis that has occurred in recent times in the countries that make up the Northern Triangle: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
As the White House is bidding for approval of his proposal, he faces criticism from Republicans who support a robust investment in border security and technology, and who believe that Biden’s strategy has led to an unprecedented “humanitarian crisis.”
At the same time, some Democratic leaders and Biden’s Republican opposition question that the foreign support strategy will only get results in the long term, not in the short term.
“Properly targeted foreign assistance and US engagement in the region can help change conditions over time, but the crisis at the border is now,” said Republican Senator Rob Portman during a recent congressional hearing. .
New policy for the region
The White House’s policy towards the region is focused on combating the roots of irregular migration, including “endemic corruption,” according to Administration officials.
“The budget would also revitalize the leadership of the United States in Central America as part of a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of irregular migration,” detailed the federal government on the project.
In this sense, Executive sources admitted that “in some cases”, Washington does not have “perfect partners for the development” of its strategy.
Although it has not been specifically detailed to which programs the 861 million in assistance to the Central American region would be allocated, it is known, by official sources, that its main objective is to increase efforts to stop the immigration of undocumented immigrants and improve the system of asylum.
Ariel Ruiz, analyst at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), explained to the Voice of America that this type of measures that Biden wants to promote, such as a new system to request asylum in the country without having to travel, must be done through of “a gradual process” with a “message that is not wrong, because the border is not open”, so these investments in Central America can be an economic stimulus to give a certain prosperity to the region.
“It is about analyzing what is the capacity of immigration agencies (of the United States) to understand what can follow in the future,” said Ruiz in statements to the VOA.
What happens in Central America
This is the opinion also shared by the expert on migration and economic stabilization, Manuel Orozco.
“What is happening in Central America is overwhelming. You have problems of crime, drought, low income, quite obsolete economic models. When all these things come together, migration results as a consequence of all these unsolved problems, ”he says.
For economic analyst Alex Segura, recently awarded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as one of the best communicators in the world, this type of investment in the Northern Triangle would allow facing other issues that have to do with comprehensive immigration reform, the growing demand for foreign labor in the United States and develop socioeconomic plans in those countries that would give a certain stability to the continent.
“This departure from the budget to Central America is a clear strategy of what Biden promised in his day during the electoral campaign and that he now wants to make effective during his government in the White House. He knows that if these needs are met in the region, and there are good economic prospects, many people would not be forced to leave the country in search of better opportunities for their families, ”Segura told the VOA.