The Biden-Harris Administration has set out an ambitious, multi-pronged approach to address the root causes of irregular migration, or the cross-border movement of persons outside the laws, regulations, or international agreements governing the crossing of international frontiers. This approach involves working with Central American and other partner governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations to address conditions in the region that are causing so many to flee their homes to the United States.
During an April 26 virtual bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Vice President Kamala Harris said that a number of longstanding issues are often referred to as root causes of irregular migration.
“We are looking at the issue of poverty and the lack, therefore, of economic opportunities; the issue of extreme weather conditions and the lack of climate adaptation; as well as corruption and the lack of good governance; and violence against women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants.”
“The United States plans to increase relief to the region; strengthen our cooperation to manage migration in an effective, secure, and humane manner,” said Vice President Harris.
“In addition to our bilateral work and our multilateral efforts, the United States is building a comprehensive strategy with international institutions, with allies around the globe, with foundations here in the United States, and the private sector as well as community organizations.”
Vice President Harris announced after the virtual meeting that the United States is providing an additional $310 million dollars for humanitarian relief and food insecurity in the region to meet urgent and immediate needs.
This includes humanitarian assistance for people in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the region. The humanitarian aid provides emergency food assistance, shelter, healthcare, screening for malnutrition, handwashing and hygiene supplies, protection, economic recovery programs, and resilience training for future disasters and climate shocks.
“Part of the spirit behind our work is that, of course, the Western Hemisphere is our collective home, and the people in it and our neighbors … are nearby and we have a responsibility, therefore, to engage,” said Vice President Harris.
“I believe that the work, in order to be successful, will require everyone’s participation. And I do believe, also, it will require political will and hard work to accomplish our goals. But I am confident that we can make progress and create a sense of hope for the future.”