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Vice President Harris announced a new initiative to bring business and economic investment to the countries of the Northern Triangle in Central America that are leading many of the wave of immigrants on the southern border of the United States. Expensive to tackle.
At the White House on Thursday, Harris – who is due to travel next month to Mexico and Guatemala – personally and nearly met with representatives from a dozen companies and NGOs. Participants included the CEOs of Nespresso, Chobani and Duolingo as well as the Chairman of Mastercard and President of Microsoft.
Harris said the Biden administration was issuing a “call to action” for companies, banks and social institutions to invest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The Initiative It is part of an effort to address the root causes of migration. The focus on business reflects a desire to make economic development continue beyond any single administration or congressional funding cycle.
“When we work together, when we pool the resources – although they are limited for each of us – we can maximize the potential to give people in that area hope, and in this way also demonstrate what it means to be a good neighbor,” Harris said in brief opening remarks at the event.
In the first months of its tenure, the Biden administration was criticized for dealing with a jump in the number of immigrants seeking asylum or crossing illegally into the United States. Concerns along the southern border are in record numbers, and Republicans have blamed the troop increase on the administration’s decision to distance itself from the Trump administration’s strict border policies.
In March, President Biden asked Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to address the root causes of immigration. Its portfolio does not include the borders themselves, but instead offers relationships with the countries of the Northern Triangle. This is the role Biden played during the Obama administration.
Harris last month Advertise The United States will invest an additional $ 310 million to help meet the humanitarian needs of people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The region has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout in addition to natural disasters, and a large portion of the funds are slated to go to emergency food aid.
The 12 organizations that were part of Thursday’s event at Harris’ ceremonial office announced “commitments to support inclusive development in the Northern Triangle,” an administration official said. The official said the goal is “long-term development of the region, including efforts for economic opportunities, strengthening governance, fighting corruption and improving security.”
Harris said she works on the premise that people don’t want to leave their home countries, and when they do it is because they are fleeing some harm, such as violence or a natural disaster, or because staying at home prevents them from meeting basic needs. .
For many immigrants, a lack of economic opportunities in their home countries is a factor in their decision to leave. This is where this initiative comes in.
“We have the power to give people hope – and hope especially in this case that if they stay, help is on the way,” Harris said.
Among the commitments, Harris announced that Microsoft will expand broadband access to up to 3 million people next year, Nespresso will expand coffee sources in Guatemala and start to do so in El Salvador and Honduras, and Mastercard plans to support 1 million small businesses in the region.
“The benefit of this effort probably won’t prove itself overnight, but it is worth it,” Harris said. “We understand that our work comes in the context of long-standing and deep-rooted factors.”
The press was escorted after Harris’ opening remarks.