March 2024

Vice President Harris continues to lead the implementation of the Root Causes Strategy, which tackles the drivers of irregular migration by improving conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras so people do not feel compelled to leave their homes.  This includes addressing economic, governance, and security challenges through five pillars: 1) Addressing economic insecurity and inequality; 2) Combating corruption and strengthening democratic governance; 3) Promoting human rights and labor rights; 4) Countering and preventing violence; and 5) Combating sexual and gender-based violence.  These efforts provide hope and opportunity to the people of Central America, affirming that a secure and prosperous future lies in their home communities.  

The Administration is on track to meet its commitment in the 2021 Root Causes Strategy to provide $4 billion to the region over four years.  Through new and ongoing programming, the Strategy is having far-reaching impacts throughout the region. 

Highlights of Biden-Harris Administration initiatives include:

  • Creating Opportunities:  U.S. government support for as many as 23,000 private sector firms in northern Central America has helped create and sustain up to an estimated 250,000 jobs.
  • Supporting Education:  The U.S. government has reached as many as 3 million youth through support for primary and secondary education in areas of high out-migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  • Investing in Entrepreneurs to Create Jobs:  Since July 2021, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has invested over $325 million in 19 projects in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras across sectors, including financial inclusion, healthcare, climate finance, and affordable housing.  This includes a $45 million loan to a financial institution to increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a focus on women and rural borrowers; an $80 million loan to financial institutions to expand financing for SMEs, particularly for women entrepreneurs in Honduras; a $60 million loan to a financial institution in El Salvador to increase lending to small businesses and expand its climate finance portfolio; and a $7.5 million equity investment in a fund that will provide growth capital to sustainable agribusiness, digital connectivity, and health businesses, with an emphasis on women-owned and managed businesses in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
  • Enhancing Food Security, Agricultural Productivity, and Finance:  Through USAID’s Feed the Future programs, an estimated 63,000 farmers in Guatemala and Honduras utilized innovative technologies intended to increase production and income on more than 75,000 acres of farmland. The U.S. government helped unlock more than $57 million in private sector agricultural finance. This helps create greater income security and resilience to environmental and economic shocks. 
  • Ensuring Labor Rights:  Since 2021, 11 Department of Labor projects totaling $76 million supported labor capacity-building and training programs across El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These projects increased the capacity of approximately 2,800 labor rights actors, including government officials, employers, workers, and civil society, and provided training on the topics of child labor, forced labor, collective bargaining, safety and health, and other labor rights. 
  • Combating Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking:  Since Vice President Harris announced Joint Task Force Alpha, led by the Department of Justice, in June 2021, interagency efforts have led to over 220 U.S. convictions of members of human trafficking organizations; more than 275 arrests, including against leaders, organizers, and significant facilitators; more than 150 U.S. defendants sentenced, including significant jail sentences imposed; substantial seizures and forfeiture of assets and contraband including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, real property, vehicles, firearms and ammunition, and drugs; multiple indictments and successful extradition requests against foreign leadership targets; as well as myriad indictments, arrests, and convictions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to make progress on new and existing initiatives across all five pillars of the Root Causes Strategy.

Pillar I: Addressing economic insecurity and inequality.

  • Investing in Entrepreneurs in the Region:  DFC will provide an equity investment of up to $2.5 million in a $10 million venture capital fund investing in early-stage technology entrepreneurs that provide solutions to underserved populations and to micro and small businesses in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  Additionally, DFC will provide an additional equity investment of up to $4 million to a woman-led $20 million venture capital fund investing across the Western Hemisphere, including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
  • Launching a Textiles and Apparel Supply Chain Directory:  The Office of theU.S. Trade Representative and Central American Trade Agencies and textiles and apparel industry stakeholders will work together under the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, to build a directory with detailed profiles of manufacturing and sourcing companies in the region, including information on business practices and production capabilities, to facilitate transparent sourcing, and bolster the region’s supply chain.  This will support inclusive trade to strengthen the U.S.-Central America supply chain, promote resiliency and nearshoring, and bolster labor and environment standards in the region’s textiles and apparel sector. 
  • Strengthening Food Security:  The Department of State will launch two $6 million soil mapping projects through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Guatemala and Honduras to boost efforts to address degraded soils by providing on the ground tools for farmers to grow crops more efficiently and improve soil health to support regional food security and climate resilience.
  • Supporting Repatriated Migrants:  USAID supported national governments to receive and support nearly 150,000 returned migrants in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which promotes sustainable reintegration of these migrants into their communities, helping to reduce repeat migration.  USAID also provided post-arrival humanitarian assistance (such as hygiene kits, food, clothing, and transportation) to nearly 78,000 returned migrants, and reintegration services (such as training, job placement, and psychosocial support) for nearly 27,000 returned migrants.
  • Empowering Women Entrepreneurs:  Through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) exchange program, the Department of State is helping women build sustainable businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem across Central America, where there are now well over 1350 AWE alumni.  The Department of State also supported the establishment of a Women’s Business Resource Center in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, reaching more than 550 women entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship-support services, including information on their legal rights.  The Center provided 3,500+ hours of individual business advisory services, daycare services for over 100 children of women entrepreneurs, and supported the launch of 30 new businesses. 
  • Increasing Access to Quality Education and Vocational Skills:  USAID helped more than 3,600 teachers successfully transition from pandemic-era remote learning in 2021 to in-person schooling in 2023.  Since 2021, about 30,000 youth from high out-migration municipalities have completed USAID-supported vocational training programs that reflect local labor market needs.  More than 12,000 young people from the program were employed in new jobs after completing their vocational training.

Pillar II: Combating corruption, strengthening democratic governance, and advancing rule of law.

  • Imposing Consequences for Corrupt Actors:  Since 2021, the U.S. Government has promoted accountability through visa restrictions for over 1,200 individuals involved in acts of corruption or undermining democracy in Central America, rendering them generally ineligible for visas to the United States.  In addition, the Department of the Treasury has sanctioned 16 individuals and entities in El Salvador and Guatemala for their role in, among other things, serious human rights abuse and corruption.
  • Training Justice Sector and Government Personnel:  From FY 2021 to 2023, the Department of State and USAID conducted trainings for up to 27,000 justice sector personnel, government officials, and NGO staff aimed at strengthening partner governments’ judicial systems to more effectively manage accountability systems and processes, take action against corrupt acts, and raise awareness of ethical standards and legal obligations.

Pillar III: Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights, and a free press.

  • Organizing a Good Jobs Summit:  In summer 2024, the Department of Labor will organize a Central America Good Jobs Summit to reinforce the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting labor rights, respect for the rule of law, and economic inclusion while creating high quality jobs in the region.  The Summit will include worker organizations, private sector participation from U.S., multinational, and Central America companies, and civil society stakeholders.
  • Building Civil Society Capacity for Inclusive Growth:  For FY 2024, the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) plans to announce new funding of $6 million, matched by grantee co-investment of $5.2 million, for a total value of $11.2 million.  These funds will develop the capacity of organizations to address the drivers of migration.  IAF grants in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have benefitted more than 800,000 people since FY 2022 via community-led initiatives that each focus on multiple drivers of migration by creating economic opportunities, improving food security, protecting human rights, preventing and recovering from violence, and improving government accountability through civic engagement. IAF currently supports 107 organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  
  • Defending Civil Society:  Since 2021, Department of State assistance helped nearly 500 members of civil society in Central America return to work following threats and attacks on them for their civic work.  The Department of State also supported over 140 journalists and more than 25 news outlets from Central America to improve investigative reporting on issues of public interest.  Separately, USAID also supported more than 500 human rights defenders to report human rights violations and advocate for their protection.

Pillar IV: Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes perpetrated by criminal gangs, trafficking networks, and other organized criminal organizations.

  • Countering Firearms Trafficking:  In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the U.S. government has provided $7.5 million to improve security and disrupt the diversion and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons resulting in the destruction of over 17 metric tons of unserviceable ammunition and over 4,000 small arms and light weapons since July 2021.
  • Imposing Consequences for Narcotics Trafficking:  U.S.-supported narcotics and asset seizures in Central America remain at historic highs.  Since 2021, more than $11 billion in illegal drugs and $472 million in illegal assets were seized through support from the Departments of Justice and State. 
  • Training Police:  Since 2021, the Department of State provided professional training for up to 18,000 civilian police across Central America.
  • Preventing Youth Violence:  Through USAID support, more than 90,000 at-risk youth in northern Central America accessed training and services, including leadership coaching, psychosocial support, conflict management, and employment and livelihoods training.

Pillar V: Combating sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence.

  • Assisting Victims of Gender-Based Violence:  With State Department support, the Guatemalan Police Department of Victim’s Attention significantly expanded its reach by inaugurating 19 new Offices of Victims Attention in the Western Highlands, a region home to several vulnerable indigenous communities.  This expansion already enabled the provision of culturally sensitive services to over 1,000 domestic and gender-based violence victims.
  • Increasing Awareness of Gender-Based Violence in the Region:  In FY 2023, USAID reached more than 27,000 through programs that help prevent or combat gender-based violence in northern Central America.  USAID supported a multi-media anti-violence campaign in Guatemala that reached more than 10 million people through posters, videos, and comic books.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top