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Biden Plan Will Try To Tackle Root Causes Of Migration From Central America

President Biden walks to the Oval Office after arriving on Marine One.
Anna Moneymaker
Getty Images
President Biden walks to the Oval Office after arriving on Marine One.

The White House is unveiling a strategy to address root causes of migration, a long-term effort that includes increased cooperation with the private sector and with other foreign governments to try to accelerate change in Central America.

The proposal comes as thousands of migrants arrived at the U.S. southern border every day last month.

Senior Biden administration officials on Wednesday described the plan as "the first of its kind," but much of the proposal is expanding on previous efforts that have done little to curb migration from the region.

"What we're talking about here is much more than a U.S. assistance package," a senior administration official said on a call with reporters. "We're looking at actually building a broader coalition that includes not just the U.S. government and its supporters, but members of the private sector, the foundations, the international community."

While specifics about foreign government involvement are limited, the officials say they've received commitments from Mexico, Japan and South Korea, as well as the United Nations, to assist with humanitarian assistance in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — the so-called Northern Triangle countries.

In February, President Biden signed an executive order that called for the development of a migration strategy.

The five-point plan unveiled Thursday seeks to address economic inequality, combat corruption and strengthen democratic institutions, protect human and labor rights, and counter criminal gangs and combat gender violence.

The Biden administration has already proposed $4 billion in U.S. aid to the Northern Triangle countries. And the United States has already sent billions to Central America — including when Biden was vice president — to address many of these similar things: poverty, weak governance and insecurity.

White House officials say the new plan builds on some of then-Vice President Biden's earlier efforts that were successful. Vice President Harris is now leading the administration's diplomatic push to work with the Northern Triangle nations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.