December 5, 2022

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The US Vice President is promoting $3.2 billion in investments aimed at stopping immigration in Central America

The US Vice President is promoting $3.2 billion in investments aimed at stopping immigration in Central America

Her office, US Vice President Kamala Harris, said today, Tuesday, that the US Vice President has raised $ 3.2 billion in corporate pledges aimed at addressing some of the economic factors driving immigration from Central America, adding impetus to the measures that will be discussed. At the Americas Summit this week.

New commitments from US companies, including Visa Inc (VN) and clothing maker Gap Inc (GPS.N)was announced a day before President Joe Biden officially opened the Los Angeles meeting, which was marred by controversy over the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Biden’s decision to exclude Washington’s three main left-wing opponents in Latin America on the grounds of human rights and democratic shortcomings has pushed Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and many other leaders away, threatening to undermine Biden’s summit agenda.

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The corporate pledges form a large part of Biden’s plan to address the “root causes” of immigration from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, an area known as the Northern Triangle. Reducing irregular immigration is a top priority for Biden at a time when record numbers of people are trying to enter the United States at the Mexican border.

Republicans, who hope to seize control of the US Senate and House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections, have sharply criticized the Democratic president for reversing the restrictive immigration policies of former Republican President Donald Trump. Read more

Harris’ recent funding commitments exceeded $1.9 billion, adding to the $1.2 billion of pledges made in December. Its aim is to create jobs, expand Internet access and bring more people into the formal banking system, officials said.

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US officials said Biden, who travels to Los Angeles on Wednesday to open the summit with a political speech, will promote a new economic “partnership” for the Western Hemisphere building on existing trade agreements. Read more He also plans to preview a “declaration” on immigration to be announced on Friday that officials say will include specific commitments from leaders to tackle the problem.

Even as he grapples with pressing concerns like mass shootings, high inflation and the Ukraine war, the Democratic president wants to use the summit to repair Latin American relations damaged under his Republican predecessor Trump, and counter China’s growing influence in the region.

But the dispute over the guest list raised questions about the prospects for reaching meaningful agreements. Read more

US efforts to stem immigration from the Northern Triangle have been hampered by corruption, as projects worth millions of dollars have stalled and some private sector involvement has stalled. Read more

To complicate matters further, the presidents of Guatemala and Honduras indicated that they would not attend the summit and would instead send other officials. It was not clear if El Salvador’s president, Neb Bokel, would attend. The official White House guest list shows that its secretary of state is the head of the delegation.

Several thousand migrants, many of them from Venezuela, set out from southern Mexico on Monday for a trip to the US border to coincide with the summit. Read more

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Reuters witnesses said at least 6,000 people had left the city of Tapachula, near Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

Corporate pledges

The companies’ latest pledges include $270 million from Visa focused on bringing 6.5 million people into the formal banking system, and $150 million from Gap to increase materials sourced from the region.

Other companies cover a variety of sectors, including auto parts, agriculture, telecommunications, and digital services.

Harris, in a speech in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said the $3.2 billion investment would have a “direct quality-of-life impact” for millions of people in the Northern Triangle.

A CEO summit held in parallel with the leaders’ meeting could lead to commitments for more investment in economically turbulent Latin America, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and is struggling to recover.

Harris also announced an initiative with the private sector that aims to connect 1.4 million women to the financial system and train more than 500,000 women and girls in job skills.

Despite disagreement over invitations to the summit, most leaders in the Americas plan to attend. White House officials insist the controversy will erupt and that the event – the first to be hosted by the United States since the first such meeting in 1994 – will be a success.

But before heading to the summit, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, in a newspaper editorial, accused the United States of being “inconsistent, if not contradictory” for its refusal to invite communist-ruled Cuba and leftist-led Nicaragua and Venezuela while engaging. With non-democratic governments in other regions such as Southeast Asia. Read more

Additional reporting by Dina Solomon and Matt Spitalnick in Los Angeles and Ted Hesson in Washington; Additional reporting by Dave Graham and Humira Pamuk in Los Angeles and Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Editing by Grant McCall and Leslie Adler

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