Friday, May 20, 2022

Migration Crisis Has Worsened Despite Biden's Pledge to Address 'root causes'

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
President Joe Biden pledged to end the migration crisis by addressing the root causes that have led millions to flee Central America for the U.S. southern border.
Sixteen months into Biden’s tenure, though, the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico is far worse, and the administration's efforts to improve conditions in migrants' home countries have not amounted to much.
Encounters of illegal immigrants at the southern border are at all-time highs. More than 2 million migrants were stopped while attempting to enter the United States from Mexico without authorization in 2021.
What Biden has done?
As a presidential candidate, Biden said that rather than focus on measures to stop migrants at the U.S. border, he would resolve the factors that prompt people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to abandon their home countries — namely, widespread poverty and the threat of violent crime. The three countries sit at the northern end of Central America, directly south of Mexico.
The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador,
and Honduras (Getty Images) - CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE
In early 2021, the White House announced several steps to address problems in the three countries, including $310 million in aid to Central America and the appointment of Vice President Kamala Harris as the leader of diplomatic talks with regional leaders. It also released its "Strategies to Address the Root Causes of Migration in Central America." The document laid out, in general terms, plans for improving business conditions, addressing corruption within governments, bolstering human rights, countering gangs and cartels, and combating domestic violence.
In terms of economic development, the administration has several accomplishments to point to. A senior State Department official testified before the Senate on May 5 that Microsoft plans to connect 4 million people in the region to broadband internet, that Nespresso plans an investment of $150 million to double the number of farmers in the region and begin sourcing coffee from El Salvador and Honduras, and that Mastercard is working with 1 million micro and small businesses to bring them into the formal financial economy. Altogether, the Biden administration has procured more than $1 billion in corporate partnerships that will result in jobs in the region.
Still, the investments have not slowed migration out of the region. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have a combined population of 33 million. Over the past 18 months, more than 1 million people from those three countries were encountered attempting to enter the U.S.
The overarching problem is that the Biden administration’s efforts to get U.S. companies to create jobs in the Northern Triangle cannot compete with the amount of money that people in America earn, giving people little reason to stay.
“The pay differential at the lowest end of the scale in the United States and those countries is about 10-to-1,” said Andrew Arthur, a former federal immigration judge and now a resident fellow at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies. "If you’re not going to pay people comparable wages in that country, you will actually increase their GDP, but you’re not going to do much."
GDP per capita was about $63,000 in the U.S. in 2020, according to World Bank data. In comparison, GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power, was $8,853.7 in Guatemala, $8,420 in El Salvador, and $5,420 in Honduras. --->READ THE REST HERE
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