WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, commended the Administration’s commitment to fostering economic opportunity and hope in the Northern Triangle – Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador – and addressing the root causes driving the migration from the region to the United States. The Administration announced it would request $1 billion as part of its FY 2016 budget proposal to support economic development, enhanced security measures, and stronger governance in the region.
Over the past two years, including as recently as November 2014, Sen. Carper has travelled to the Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as Mexico and Colombia, to study the root causes of Central American migration. Sen. Carper wrote about this issue and what he has learned on his trips to these nations in an op-ed that appeared in The Hill earlier this week: US must help Central American neighbors.
“We often focus too much attention to the symptoms of problems rather than trying to fix the underlying causes,” Sen. Carper said. “This is particularly true when it comes to our nation’s borders, and how to address the unprecedented migration of families and unaccompanied children, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, we saw last year. Fortunately, this Administration has said that it is committed to addressing the root causes of hopelessness, violence, and lack of economic opportunity in the Northern Triangle that compel so many desperate families and children to make the dangerous 1,500 mile journey to the United States. This announcement makes that commitment clear. In order to prevent this phenomenon from happening again, we need to help those countries and their leaders overcome those circumstances that are pushing so many of their young people and families to flee. Based on my conversations with Central American leaders and trips to the region, I believe that one of the critical needs is to foster economic growth and create jobs. This proposal from the Administration, led by Vice President Biden, will help support that need. While this proposed funding is not a silver bullet, I hope it lays the foundation for a sustained focus on – and investment in – the region by the United States and our partners. These efforts should not rest solely on our nation’s shoulders. It is a shared responsibility among the United States, the governments of the Northern Triangle, other Central American nations, and other partners in the region. Change in these nations won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy, but we do have a moral and fiscal obligation to help our neighbors in the Northern Triangle, and if we work together, progress can be made.”
Last year, in his role as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sen. Carper held the hearing: “Challenges at the Border: Examining and Addressing the Root Causes Behind the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border” and convened a roundtable with key stakeholders across the U.S. government, multilateral investment banks, and non-governmental organizations on what the U.S. government and its partners are currently doing to improve the prospects for citizens of these countries, to identify programs that may be the most effective, and to highlight what actions can be taken.