The United States Government is in the process of considering a potential cash transfer program to central America to stem migration.
The White House told Reuters this past Friday that the United States is potentially looking into implementing a relief program that would benefit those coming across the border looking for better economic opportunities. The program is aimed to help counter the economic struggles that cause many migrants from a plethora of Central American countries to trek north across the southern border to the United States. In addition, they are also mulling over distributing vaccines to Central American countries to combat the spread of COVID-19 for migrants.
The United States Border Patrol agents picked up roughly 168,000 people in March 2021, alone. That number is the highest number of migrants picked up since March of 2001, and is steadily increasing daily. Specifically, the program would directly benefit targeted people who originate from the Northern Triangle Region of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Southern Border Coordinator, Roberta Jacobson informed Reuters of this, yet did not specifically say who would receive cash. “We’re looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,” Jacobson told Reuters.
In addition to the lack of detail in regards to who should receive such cash handouts, Jacobson also failed to acknowledge how the program would work, and how cash would be feasibly administered. She continued, “The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people.” According to an article published by Reuters, “Jacobson said no decision has been made regarding whether to prioritize sending vaccines to the Northern Triangle countries, but said that President Joe Biden’s administration would consider how vaccines could help the countries’ ailing economies. She said the vaccine issue remains separate from immigration-related discussions with the nations.” Despite her new pet project, Jacobson will step down from her role as the White House Southern Border Coordinator at the end of the month, having only committed to the position for the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency. Biden had asked Vice President Harris to take over operations and oversight at the southern border in late March.
Reuters continued, adding, “Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has called for $4 billion in development aid to Central America over four years to address underlying causes of migration. On Friday, the White House requested $861 million from Congress for that effort in Biden’s first annual budget proposal. That would be a sharp increase from the roughly $500 million in aid this year.” Central American countries have faced the most hardship in regards to vaccine distribution in the months since its inception. Some regional governments have looked to China and Russia for aid, with great success in their efforts.
ARTICLE: ETHAN FINN
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS