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Vice President Kamala Harris has helped companies direct investments outside the United States and into the economy of Central America in a move that the Biden administration claims will decrease record levels of illegal immigration.
Harris, who serves as the administration’s border czar, has frequently argued that the federal approach to border security should center upon addressing economic instability, climate change, and other “root causes” that purportedly lead to illegal immigration. She has galvanized a combined $4.2 billion in “private sector commitments to create economic opportunity in northern Central America,” according to a fact sheet from the White House.
The federal government’s Central America Forward framework created a new Northern Central America Investment Facilitation Team which will “support clean energy infrastructure development, facilitate private sector operations, and promote sustainable economic development in the region.” USAID will sponsor workforce development programs, while the newly formed Central America Service Corps will engage young people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with “paid community service opportunities.”
Central America Forward aims to provide one million jobs in the region, as well as heighten access to the financial system, create a $75 million debt fund for small businesses, and facilitate $500 million in infrastructure deals. Federation for American Immigration Reform Head of Government Relations RJ Hauman said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire that “none of these investments serve as a deterrent for illegal immigration to the United States.”
“If the Biden administration wanted to truly end the crisis, they should start from the ground up at relevant agencies, not in corporate boardrooms,” he commented. “Sign asylum cooperative agreements, reform our asylum system, empower officers to enforce federal immigration law, and send the message to economic migrants and human smugglers that asylum fraud is not a pathway to get into the United States.”
As many as 5.5 million migrants have crossed into the United States under the Biden administration, according to data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Some 113 known or suspected terrorists crossed the border in fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022, while migrant deaths surpassed 856 in fiscal year 2022, marking the deadliest period on record. Critics of the Biden administration’s immigration policies have asserted that lackluster emphasis on securing the border and increased resources for migrants who enter the country have worsened the illegal immigration crisis.
The efforts to spur investments outside of the United States come several months after the Biden administration announced funds for food security and humanitarian aid for Latin American nations. The aid package amounted to $645 million and included support for “refugee and migrant populations,” as well as cooperative efforts on “climate smart economic reform.”
“This contribution will complement the United States’ existing commitment to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance, responding to acute food insecurity, and advancing capacity-building activities that bolster disaster preparedness and response” across Latin America and the Caribbean, a White House statement said.
The move nevertheless occurred as inflation in the United States reached record levels. Food prices were increasing 9.1% year-over-year at the time, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with prices for meat rising 11.7% and prices for dairy rising 13.5%.