| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

U.S. VP Harris touts $4.2b private sector investment in Central America

According to the White House on Monday, private corporations have agreed to invest $4.2 billion in northern Central America as part of Kamala Harris’s initiative to stop migration.

The most recent statistics, which have increased from the $3.2 billion announced in June 2022, are the result of pledges made by 47 businesses and organizations, including Target and Columbia Sportswear Company. Target pledged to raise its expenditure in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras by $300 million this year in the latest announcements made on Monday, while Columbia said it will spend $200 million on items in the region, resulting in the creation of more than 6,900 jobs over a five-year period.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who will deliver the annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, tapped Harris in March 2021 to lead efforts to reduce migration at the U.S.-Mexico border as crossings began to spike at the beginning of his administration. Harris focused her efforts on addressing the factors that led migrants to leave the three countries, known as the northern triangle, including a lack of economic opportunity.

Corruption and governance concerns in the three nations have limited the effectiveness of the Harris push, leading to the cancellation or suspension of projects likely worth millions of dollars.

Harris, who will meet with U.S. government officials and corporate leaders at her office in Washington on Monday, plans to launch a new phase of the effort called Central America Forward, which will include more focus on broader economic development and labor rights, as well as a push to tackle corruption, an administration official said on a call with reporters.

Arrivals from northern Central America have steadily declined since mid-2021. During that time, hundreds of thousands of migrants from the region have been rapidly expelled back to Mexico without the chance to seek U.S. asylum under a COVID order known as Title 42.

  • Reuters