After several threats to cut aid and investment to the region in response to the migrant caravan, the Trump administration this week announced its commitment to $5.8bn for Central America and $4.6bn for Southern Mexico — funds meant to combat the socioeconomic drivers of immigration at their source.
“The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.
The U.S aid aims to promote better security conditions and job opportunities as part of a regional plan to allow Central Americans and Mexicans to remain in their countries and not have to emigrate.
The plan was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement released by the State Department and read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in the Mexican capital.
“In sum I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico,” Ebrard said.
Newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waxed poetic about the plan to provide jobs so people won’t have to emigrate.
“I have a dream that I want to see become a reality … that nobody will want to go work in the United States anymore,” Lopez Obrador said at a morning news conference before the announcement.
The combination of public and private investment for the stay-at-home effort doesn’t require congressional approval, unlike Trump’s signature project to stem illegal immigration — a border wall.
The U.S. State Department issued a simultaneous statement saying “The United States is committing $5.8 billion through public and private investment to promote institutional reforms and development in the Northern Triangle,” a term that refers to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Lopez Obrador’s administration has said it is also interested in agricultural, forestry and tourism projects in southern Mexico, and the U.S. said it will contribute to those efforts.“