At LA Summit, VP Harris Announces New Initiatives to Counter Central American Migration

Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris at the White House in May. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Addressing a key topic of discussion at this week’s Summit of the Americas, Vice President Kamala Harris announced three efforts on Tuesday to stem the flow of migrants from Central America, most notably an additional $1.9 billion in investment in the private sector in the region, intended to provide economic opportunities for the residents where they live.

Harris, who has been in Los Angeles since Friday ahead of the downtown Los Angeles summit, was scheduled to discuss the initiatives Tuesday at a trio of appearances in the area, including roundtables with women leaders and business leaders and a speech at a women’s rally. empowerment event, according to the White House.

Harris has been tasked by President Joe Biden to tackle the immigration issue, notably by tackling what are believed to be the root causes of the problem driving young migrants to flee their home countries. A senior government official told reporters that the central theory for tackling that problem is the belief that residents of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala do not want to leave their homes. Therefore, “if you can provide them with hope and opportunities, especially economic opportunities, there is a greater chance that they will stay there,” the official said.

To that end, Harris issued a call to action last year for companies to invest in the region and create opportunities for employment and skills training. In December, she announced $1.2 billion in pledges and Tuesday revealed another $1.9 billion from companies like Gap and Visa.

Among the investments being made is a $100 million pledge by food company Agroamerica aimed at generating 1,000 permanent jobs in northern Central America over the next five years; a $500 million sourcing commitment for Central American products by apparel wholesaler SanMar; and a $700 million investment by telecom company Millicom to expand and maintain mobile and broadband networks in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Harris also announced Tuesday the creation of the Central American Service Corps, a partnership with private and philanthropic organizations that aims to provide youth in the three countries with “paid community service, mentorship and a pathway to employment,” according to her. office.

“CASC will help address the causes of irregular migration among those most likely to migrate by involving young people in local service opportunities, providing a modest stipend, acquiring work and life skills, and building a sense of rootedness and involvement. youth in their communities,” according to Harris’s office.

She also announced commitments from government, businesses and civil society to support women’s economic empowerment in Central America and beyond. With those commitments, she announced an “In Her Hands” initiative in which companies “empower, train and protect women in northern Central America and the western hemisphere.” The goal of the effort is to educate more than 500,000 women and girls in vocational skills, while promoting gender equality and the advancement of women in business.

Among the companies making commitments are Mastercard, Microsoft and PepsiCo, according to Harris’s office.

–City news service

Leave a Comment