A report assesses the Biden administration’s initial efforts to address the root causes of migration from Central America. The following article was published in the March-April 2022 issue of NewsNotes.
One year after President Joe Biden issued an executive order aimed at reforming U.S. policy toward Central America and establishing humane migration policy, a new report from the Root Causes Initiative examines the Biden administration’s record of following through on these commitments.
The Root Causes Initiative is a network of faith-based organizations from Central America, Mexico, and the United States seeking to change the underlying economic, social, and political conditions driving migration and working to protect migrants from abuse. Based on publicly available data and the analysis of civil society organizations, the report assesses the Administration’s efforts and issues recommendations across four areas: Rule of Law, Localizing Aid, Inclusive Economic Policy, and Humane Migration Policy.
Considering the Administration’s efforts to advance the rule of law, the Initiative notes that the United States has “taken a relatively hard line” against the administration of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, criticizing and taking actions to reign in his anti-democratic actions through sanctions and other measures, while failing to apply the same pressure to the Guatemalan government.
With respect to the president’s goal to “localize aid in Central America” the report notes that while the percentage of U.S. aid money going to local organizations has just about doubled from 5.6 to 11.2%, much more cooperation with community-led aid and development groups is necessary. Remarking on economic policy, the Initiative says it is too soon to tell how the Administration’s efforts to encourage U.S. corporations with strong labor, environmental, and gender equality standards to invest in Central America will play out.
Finally, the Initiative decries the Biden administration’s failure to address the “cruel and counter-productive” Trump-era border policies, which have all but ended the U.S. asylum system, in violation of international law. They also urgently call for the allocation of more temporary employment visas and for greater numbers of refugees to be admitted from the region.
Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, an organization helping lead the Initiative, said, “At this one year mark, we need to recognize that the Biden-Harris administration still has a once in a generation opportunity to change course in Central America and make meaningful change. To do so, this administration will have to recommit to listening and walking alongside local leaders who have a prophetic vision for the future of their communities.”
Read the report at https://www.hopeborder.org/root-causes.
Photo, Tijuana, Mexico, available on Unsplash.