Following the surge in illegal immigration from Central America last year, President Barack Obama will request $1 billion for the region in his 2016 budget, which the administration expects to release Monday.
In a New York Times op-ed, Vice President Joe Biden highlighted the summer’s crisis of unaccompanied immigrant minors from Central America illegally streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border. He argues that funding for Central America is needed because the “security and prosperity of Central America are inextricably linked with our own.”
This summer tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and family units from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. They expected to be allowed to remain here.
Republicans pointed to the President’s extension of amnesty to illegal immigrant children already in the United States — with his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — as an enticement to illegally come to the U.S. and Democrats argued the illegal immigration was due to the negative push of factors in the region.
In his op-ed, Biden calls attention to education, corruption, crime, lack of investments and an expected increase in the labor force as issues plaguing the economies of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“Toward that end, on Monday, President Obama will request from Congress $1 billion to help Central America’s leaders make the difficult reforms and investments required to address the region’s interlocking security, governance and economic challenges,” Biden wrote.
The vice president added that the amount is three times what the United States has provided to Central America in the past.
Biden continued to say that Obama has tapped him to lead the Central America revitalization effort.
“For the first time, we can envision and work toward having the Americas be overwhelmingly middle class, democratic and secure,” he wrote. “That is why we are asking Congress to work with us. Together, we can help Central America become an embodiment of the Western Hemisphere’s remarkable rise — not an exception to it.”