Two top House Republicans are demanding documents associated with President Joe Biden’s proposed cash transfer program that aims to deal with the ‘root’ causes of migration in the Northern Triangle countries.
Fox News Channel first reported that Rep. James Comer, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jason Smith, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, wrote a letter to acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and called Biden’s plan to send $4 billion over four years to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador ‘naive and misguided.’
‘In the midst of a border crisis propelled by the Biden Administration reversing successful deterrent policies, it is worrisome that the Administration’s solution isn’t to reinstate those policies or replace them with workable solutions, but instead to funnel more money to pay countries to dissuade their citizens to break U.S. laws, particularly countries with corruption concerns,’ the letter said.
Rep. James Comer (left), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jason Smith (right), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, wrote a letter demanding documents about a plan to send $4 billion to Northern Triangle countries
Reuters reported last month that the Biden administration was considering a conditional cash transfer program to Northern Triangle countries to address the ‘root’ causes of migration, as migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have been flooding the U.S. border
Central American families wait to be processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico border last month in La Joya, Texas. Biden has proposed sending $4 billion over four years to the Northern Triangle countries, so stop migrants from coming north
Migrants are questioned by police in Corinto, Honduras, on in March before trying to cross the border into Guatemala, hoping to travel onwards to Mexico and the United States
Border Patrol agents apprehend a group of migrants near downtown El Paso, Texas in mid-March
Reuters reported last month that the Biden administration was considering a conditional cash transfer program to help address economic woes that lead migrants from certain Central American countries to trek north.
The potential program would be targeted at people in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s now former southern border coordinator, told Reuters in an interview.
She didn’t say exactly who would receive cash.
Roughly 168,000 people were picked up by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in March, the highest monthly tally since March 2001 and part of steadily increasing arrivals in recent months.
‘We’re looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,’ Jacobson said.
She did not provide a detailed explanation of how a cash transfer program would work.
‘The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,’ she added.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the plan last month.
‘It’s insulting to the millions of Americans who are out of work or facing despair in our country,’ he said.
Biden has called for $4 billion in development aid to Central America over four years to address underlying causes of migration.
In early April, the White House requested $861 million from Congress for that effort in Biden’s first annual budget proposal.
That would be a sharp increase from the roughly $500 million in aid this year.
Balking at the price tag, Comer and Smith wrote, ‘Unlike the Trump Administration, which leveraged the use of aid to secure actual cooperation from Northern Triangle countries on migration issues, the Biden Administration has simply announced this “commitment” with apparently no strings attached.’
‘The strategy of sending cash payments to foreign countries to stem the tide of illegal immigration caused by Biden administration policies is naive and misguided,’ the lawmakers write. ‘Moreover, the countries identified as potential recipients include some of the most corrupt countries in the world, with El Salvador and Guatemala ranking in the top ten.’
The congressmen were likely citing a U.S. News & World Report ranking of the 10 most corrupt countries, ranked by perception.
The April 2021 ranking puts Guatemala at No. 6 and El Salvador at No. 9.
No. 1 is Iraq.
In U.S. News’ overall Best Countries ranking, Guatemala comes in 69th and El Salvador 77th out of 78 nations.