The Biden Administration is considering increased financial aid to Central American countries to deter migration to the US.
“We’re looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,” says Roberta Jacobson, a former US ambassador to Mexico who now serves as Biden’s top official for border issues.
Though details have yet to be announced, President Biden plans to send $4 billion to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador over the next four years.
“The US government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,” she added.
Jacobson this week announced she would resign at the end of the month – just 100 days into the job. And while her position was always intended to be temporary, the timing of her departures sends a bad message.
Not only is she leaving amid a historic surge in migration, but her resignation was announced directly after Vice President Kamala Harris was tapped to oversee diplomacy with Central American nations. This has prompted rumors of a rivalry between the two women, though Jacobson denies this.
In the meantime, Biden and Harris are facing considerable criticism over the situation at the border – where authorities are struggling to accommodate an influx of unaccompanied minors. The situation is so bad that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – a Democrat whose family fled to the US from Cuba – wants to resume construction on border wall projects.
“Managing all the moving parts in the interagency process on immigration and the relationships with key partners in the region is a daunting challenge that remains a major test for the Biden administration,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute. ”They are both trying to deal with an immediate migration increase at the border and find longer-term solutions to ongoing regional issues that have spurred recurring migration flow.”