Tags: Barack Obama | Immigration | Joe Biden | central america | economics | illegals | honduras

Obama to Request $1B to Aid Central American Economies

By    |   Friday, 30 January 2015 08:26 AM

In his 2016 fiscal budget request on Monday, President Barack Obama will ask for $1 billion to kick start beleaguered Central American economies and help combat the crisis of unaccompanied minors fleeing their home countries.

The Hill reports that the $1 billion — triple the amount the U.S. normally gives Central America — would be broken down as follows:
  • $400 million to promote trade, reduce poverty, and improve customs and border integration, among other programs;
  • $300 million to improve security and reduce crime;
  • Nearly $250 million to help Central American governments identify necessary reforms to implement.
In an op-ed piece penned by Vice President Joe Biden and published Thursday in The New York Times, the vice president said that "inadequate education, institutional corruption, rampant crime and a lack of investment" are holding Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras back.

"Six million young Central Americans are to enter the labor force in the next decade," Biden wrote. "If opportunity isn’t there for them, the entire Western Hemisphere will feel the consequences."

Last summer, the United States detained some 60,000 Central American minors, mainly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the majority of whom fled their countries without an adult.

Systemic change is needed to keep those countries from failing, something in which the United States has a vested interest, according to Biden.

While $1 billion is a sizable figure, it is still not sufficient to address the scale of the economic need, Biden wrote, but will help grow the Central American economies by attracting both domestic and international investment.

Biden pointed to a 1999 initiative called Plan Colombia, in which the U.S. stepped in to "combat drug trafficking, grinding poverty and institutional corruption." Fifteen years later, "Colombia is a nation transformed," he said, noting that Colombian investment was four times what America gave.

Obama will ask for the money at a time when homeland security funding is a hot issue in Washington.

The Department of Homeland Security is operating on 2014 funding levels, The Hill reports, and faces a shut down if a new funding bill isn’t passed by Feb. 27.

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In his 2016 fiscal budget request on Monday, President Barack Obama will ask for $1 billion to kick start beleaguered Central American economies and help combat the crisis of unaccompanied minors fleeing their home countries.
central america, economics, illegals, honduras, el salvador, guatemala
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2015-26-30
Friday, 30 January 2015 08:26 AM
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