FACT SHEET: Update on the U.S. Strategy for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in Central America
Vice President Harris continues to lead the implementation of the Root Causes Strategy, which tackles the drivers of irregular migration by improving the conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras so people do not feel compelled to leave their homes. This includes tackling economic, governance, and security challenges. These efforts are providing hope and opportunity to the people of Central America, affirming that a secure and prosperous future lies in their home communities. We remain committed to policies and programs that improve the lives of people in Central America so that they may see a future at home.
Highlights to date include:
- Creating Opportunities: U.S. Government support for nearly 8,000 private sector firms in northern Central America has helped create and sustain more than 90,000 jobs. Additionally, U.S. efforts have enabled micro and small businesses to access $179 million in financing to promote economic recovery in the region.
- Improving Economic Livelihoods: In response to the Vice President’s Call to Action for Northern Central America, approximately 47 companies and organizations have committed to invest more than $4.2 billion to strengthen economic security for people in the region. These investments are producing concrete results by creating jobs, connecting people to the digital economy, expanding access to financing for small businesses, providing training and education for youth and workers, and improving economic livelihoods for people in the region. With the launch of Central America Forward today, the U.S. Government and the non-profit Partnership for Central America (PCA) are expanding this public-private partnership to further integrate it with broader objectives of the Root Causes Strategy.
- Promoting Decent Work: The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Department of Labor, is partnering with local organizations to increase access to decent work. For example, in Honduras, over 500 government officials have been trained on inspection procedures to prevent child labor and forced labor, and promote freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as occupational safety and health standards in the Central American workplaces.
- Promoting Investment: The U.S. Department of Commerce led a high-level delegation to the region to explore business opportunities, which included more than 150 participants representing 64 U.S. companies from 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
- Improving Food Security: The U.S. Government has provided $112 million in assistance for school feeding programs, improving food security for over 275,000 individuals in northern Central America.
- Assisting Agricultural Workers: The U.S. Government has leveraged an estimated $189 million from both the public and private sectors to increase productivity and incomes for more than 100,000 agriculture industry producers participating in food security programs in Guatemala and Honduras.
- Supporting Education: The U.S. Government has reached more than 465,000 youth through support for primary and secondary education in areas of high out-migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In addition, more than 2,400 youth in Guatemala and Honduras obtained new employment following U.S. Government-supported vocational training, with nearly 12,000 youth recently completing their training.
- Providing Vaccines: To assist people in the region in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government has delivered more than 17 million vaccine doses free-of-cost, bilaterally and in partnership with COVAX, to countries in northern Central America.
- Combatting Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking: A task force announced by Vice President Harris in June 2021, Joint Task Force Alpha led by the Department of Justice, and other interagency efforts led by the Department of Homeland Security are generating concrete results in combatting migrant smuggling and preventing, disrupting, and dismantling human trafficking efforts. These collective efforts have resulted in 74 U.S. convictions of members of human trafficking organizations, foreign government charges against more than 200 individuals, over 107,000 disruption activities, and over 7,800 arrests, bringing the swift hand of justice down on these criminal organizations.
- Assisting Human Trafficking Victims: Through the Department of State, the U.S. Government has provided services to 740 victims of human trafficking in Central American countries and Mexico. Services include healthcare, counseling, legal assistance, provision of shelter and education.
- Combatting Corruption: The Department of Justice Anti-Corruption Task Force, announced by Vice President Harris in June 2021, is working to combat corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras through case development, training, and capacity building.
- Promoting Accountability for Corrupt Actors: The U.S. Government has promoted accountability through publicly identifying over 150 individuals responsible for undermining democracy or engaging in significant corruption in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, rendering them generally ineligible for visas to the United States, in part to prevent corrupt officials from spending their ill-gotten gains abroad. In addition, 18 individuals and entities in El Salvador and Guatemala have been sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury for their role in, among other things, human rights abuses and corruption. We will continue to use these and other tools, which to support rights and freedom for the people of Central America.
- Protecting Civic Space: Launched at the June 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the Voices Initiative is bringing like-minded partners in government, multilateral institutions, civil society, and the private sector together to protect, defend, and promote civic space in Central America.
- Enhancing Transparency and Accountability: U.S. programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have trained more than 5,000 national and local government officials to implement internationally recognized transparency and accountability standards designed to combat corruption.
- Training Civilian Police: The U.S. Government has provided professionalization training for over 9,000 civilian police in Central America, including training on police protocols for attention to victims of gender-based and intrafamily violence.
- Supporting At-Risk Youth: The U.S. Government has reached more than 50,000 at-risk youth in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with violence prevention services and supported over 180,000 at-risk youth in these countries to strengthen their ability to resist gang recruitment.
- Reducing Gender-Based Violence: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras reduce gender-based violence (GBV) through programs that range from prevention and education to survivor support and access to justice. In January 2023, the Department of State launched a $3 million project to combat GBV in six municipalities in northern Honduras with high areas of out-migration.
- Assisting GBV Survivors and Protecting Children: The U.S. Government, through USAID, provided services to more than 30,000 survivors of GBV in Honduras and Guatemala and reached more than 2,500 women, youth, and indigenous people in Guatemala with education and other activities designed to combat trafficking in persons. In El Salvador, USAID is training more than 380 staff from 67 organizations to help improve the country’s child protection services.
- Empowering Local Partners: Through the U.S. Government’s five-year, $300 million Centroamérica Local initiative—to foster locally led development by providing assistance directly to local partners working to address drivers of migration—USAID is expanding its outreach to local organizations, including indigenous and women-led organizations and directly supporting more than 20 local partners in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
- Providing Robust Humanitarian Assistance: Complementing our investments under the Root Causes Strategy, the U.S. Government also provided nearly $420 million in humanitarian assistance to Central America, for life-saving assistance, including food, protection, and shelter, to the region’s most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people.