Bloomberg

Migrants don’t have time for Biden in search of a better life in the United States

(Bloomberg) – For thousands of Central American migrants, the promise of greater personal security and economic opportunity is what drives them on arduous journeys north to the US border – not words warmest of President Joe Biden. about Biden, I didn’t have time to watch the news. We had to flee so quickly, “said Carlos, a 28-year-old Honduran who says violent gangs chased him from his homeland in March.” I could have stayed if I could, but I didn’t have everything. simply no choice ”. He asked that his last name not be released for fear of reprisals from those who threatened him. In Washington, Republican lawmakers accuse the president of instigating a record wave of migrants, blaming his move to a more sympathetic tone on immigration than the harsh rhetoric of his predecessor, Donald Trump. Yet in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – the three countries responsible for the majority of those detained at the southern border – crime, economic deprivation, natural disasters and human trafficking networks do much more to fuel the surge that All Biden Says Migration from the region was accelerating months before Biden came to power, due to the gaping economic and social disparities between Central America and the United States, exacerbated by the pandemic. From the start of the year to the end of April, more than 237,000 people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – known as the Northern Triangle – were apprehended crossing the southern border into the United States, according to the reports. government data. in the United States find an economy brimming with low-paying jobs that many Americans don’t want, as well as employers willing to walk lightly around questions about their immigration status.The push for migrants has become a political crisis early and unexpected for Biden, who entered the office focused on stepping up the vaccination campaign in the United States and reviving the national economy. As many migrants are turned away from the border under pandemic protocols established by Trump, tens of thousands have been admitted to immigration procedures in the country – including dozens of children unaccompanied by parents or guardians , which Biden says will not be refused entry. His administration is struggling to tackle the root causes of migration to the United States, and has yet to come up with a new policy or strategy arrangement. Biden Vice President Kamala Harris has was appointed to lead a diplomatic campaign with the Mexican and Central American governments. She will visit Guatamala and Mexico early next month, after pledging more than $ 300 million in additional humanitarian aid for the Northern Triangle countries in an appeal with the President of Guatamalan, Alejandro Giammattei, in April. . As a presidential candidate, he condemned Trump’s restrictive immigration policies and said all those seeking asylum at the US border “deserve to be heard.” “We are a nation that says, if you want to run away and run away from oppression, you should come,” he said during a Democratic primary debate in September 2019. In February 2020, he pledged that “No one would be kicked out in my first 100 days” in office, and issued a stay of removal order on the first day of his presidency. . Texas challenged the order in court and obtained an injunction against its execution. Biden and his key aides dispute that his warmer rhetoric encouraged migration, and they have repeatedly advised migrants not to try to come. in the United States now, while the new administration deals with migration. “In shelters in early 2021, migrants were very tuned in to what was going on” in US politics, said Marisa Limón Garza, deputy director of the Hope Border Institute, an advocacy group in El Paso , in Texas. Lately, she said, more migrants are obtaining their information from human smugglers. “Conflicting messages abound,” she said, but said migration is driven by “the reality of violence”, government corruption and environmental changes that have made farming more difficult, including including climate change and palm oil production. Yet she found a new solution to the root economic and social causes of migration, but Harris asked her staff to seek out new ideas. The administration has placed corruption at the forefront of its strategy, seeing the problem as so pervasive that efforts to spur economic growth and opportunities cannot take without uprooting it. to disburse aid through non-governmental organizations; and to persuade companies to rely on regional governments to stamp out corruption. Money is only part of the problem. Guatamala, for example, has the largest economy in Central America, according to the World Bank, but only 40% of its population enjoys food security. Nearly a million more Guatamalans – about 6% of the population – may have been pushed into poverty by the pandemic, the bank estimates. Honduras and El Salvador are even worse off economically and the leaders of the two countries have relations tough with US Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was accused by US prosecutors of drug trafficking, while El Salvarodan President Nayib Bukele was criticized earlier this month by US Secretary of State Tony Blinken after his party sacked five of the country’s top judges and the prosecutor in a move to consolidate political power. All governments in the region benefit financially from migration, leading to accusations from US politicians that they have little incentive to help stop it. Remittances from Mexicans and Central Americans to the United States are an important source of income for families in the country. In 2020, Mexico received $ 42.9 billion, while the three Central American countries together received $ 22.9 billion, according to the World Bank. “You won’t see a real solution until we start to address some of the fundamental problems in these southern countries.” said Victor Manjarrez, associate director of the Center for Law and Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso, who served as a border patrol officer for 35 years. “And it’s not just sending money because we’ve been sending money to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for decades now. And the problem is still there. The United States has allocated more than $ 3.6 billion in aid to the region between fiscal 2016 and 2021, according to the Congressional Research Service. Trump suspended financial aid for more than a year in 2019 as leverage in negotiations with Northern Triangle governments over border security and asylum agreements. The suspension delayed many aid programs, “Making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of US assistance efforts in the region,” CRS said in a report updated May 13. Fragile economies Economically fragile at the best of times, the three Central American countries suffered back-to-back hits from two powerful hurricanes in November, causing particular damage to their agricultural sector – a major source Hurricane Eta alone caused $ 5.5 billion in damage to the region, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. He was followed by Iota, who reportedly inflicted an additional $ 1.3 billion in damage, according to Aon Plc. El Salvador is beset by the highest murder rate in the world, and Honduras and Guatamala are also in the top 20, according to the United Nations. Carlos, the Honduran migrant, said at home he made $ 200 in a good week. door-to-door kitchen gas sales. He was able to send his two daughters to a good school, but in October local gangs began demanding bribes that forced him to use up his savings and take out loans. In the end, he decided to uproot his family and flee. He crossed the southern border into the United States, but was apprehended and deported to Juarez in Mexico. Like many other migrants, he had hoped to reconnect with his family in the United States who had crossed the border before him. Now, as he awaits news of his asylum case at a local shelter, he tries to be optimistic: “The only reason I came is to take care of my family. I know there is work there. I love to work, whatever profession that might be, ”he said over the phone in Spanish, crying at times. The month-long trip cost him $ 7,000, he said. More stories like this are available at bloomberg.com along with the most trusted source of business news. © 2021 Bloomberg LP