Biden considers sending cash payments to Central American countries amid border crisis

Henrietta Strickland
April 11, 2021

"The Vice President is overseeing a whole-of-government approach supported by outstanding public servants across the interagency including Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who were tasked by the President at the beginning of the administration to rebuild our immigration system", Sullivan continued. These decisions resulted in the massive increase of encounters between border enforcement officials and illegal immigrants, reaching 101,028 in February 2021 and 172,331 in March.

Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have so far refused to refer to the situation on the US' border with Mexico as a "crisis" and have ignored Republicans' calls to go there and see for themselves.

As the border crisis has become what some politicians have described as a humanitarian catastrophe - due to massive overcrowding and alleged abuse at detention facilities - here are four things you need to know about the issue, including the Biden administration's plans to restart construction on parts of the border wall and reports that terrorists have used the crisis as an opportunity to enter the country.

News of Jacobson's resignation broke after Biden appointed Vice President Kamala Harris as the point person for the border crisis, particularly on diplomatic negotiations with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Jacobson did not, however, say exactly who might receive taxpayer dollars and how much money would be spent on solving economic problems in the Northern Triangle.

The Biden administration's efforts to house a growing, record number of illegal unaccompanied minors is costing the US $60 million per week, the Washington Post reports.

Biden administration wants to pay Central Americans to curb migration
Biden administration spending $62 million a week to care for unaccompanied migrant children

Among the options for cash transfers would be to channel funds to individuals through worldwide or local non-governmental organisations that would vet them, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which administers foreign aid, told Reuters in a statement that it is already using cash transfers in programs "to help people meet their basic needs" in the wake of severe hurricanes in Central America in late 2020.

USAID is considering expanding the efforts going forward, the spokesman said. Such programs can include labor-intensive rural road-building projects.

Jacobson will leave the White House at the end of April, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Friday, saying she had committed to the role for the first 100 days of the new administration.

The New York Times called the timing of the news "striking", but Jacobson downplayed the significance of her departure.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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