US Pledges Over $10B in Aid to Keep Migrants in Central America
Money pledged to encourage government and economic development in Central America
A region plan to support Central Americans and Mexicans to remain in their countries is being developed by the United States, according to reports.
$5.8 billion in aid and investment was pledged by American officials to encourage government and economic development in Central America, including a further $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.
We recently reported that many migrants refused Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto's generous offer to apply for refugee status in their home country, providing they agreed to stay in the two southern states.
The new plan, which looks to support greater security conditions and job opportunities, was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement issued by the State Department, which was read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in Mexico City.
"In sum, I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico," Ebrard stated.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was recently inaugurated, praised the plan to provide jobs so they wouldn't have to leave the country.
"I have a dream that I want to see become a reality ... that nobody will want to go work in the United States anymore," he said at a morning news conference.
Ebrard had earlier proposed that $25 billion in U.S. investment would be a suitable figure for what Mexicans and Central Americans have called "The Alliance for Prosperity" in the region.
Unlike Trump's signature project to stop illegal immigration by using the border wall, public and private investment do not require congressional approval.
The United States reportedly wanted Mexico to provide migrants with the option of staying in Mexico while their applications are processed.
The State Department issued a statement saying:
"The United States is committing $5.8 billion through public and private investment to promote institutional reforms and development in the Northern Triangle," a phrase that applies to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The new Mexican administration has expressed interest in agricultural, forestry and tourism projects in their country, which the U.S. said it would help finance.
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation "is prepared to invest and mobilize $2 billion in additional funds for projects in southern Mexico that are viable and attract private sector investment," according to the statement.
"This amount is in addition to the $2.8 billion in projects for Mexico through OPIC's current investment pipeline."
Ebrard stated: "The commitments established here signify more than doubling foreign investment in southern Mexico starting in 2019."
Last month, a top US official confirmed that thousands of caravan migrants attempting to gain entry into the United States are made up of "mostly men" and that 90 percent of them won't qualify for asylum
In response to reports that the migrants are made up of families, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed that the "asylum seekers" are "prominently male" and any women, children and elderly in the groups are pushed to the front for media-friendly photo ops and used as "human shields" while storming the border.