Unaccompanied children come from as many as 11 different countries
New response plan includes $250 million for Central American governments
As many as 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year, U.S. estimates
VP Joe Biden holds meeting in Guatemala with regional leaders
The Obama administration has unveiled a plan to spend millions of dollars to stem the tide of undocumented children streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, announcing a coordinated government-wide response to the situation Friday.
The plan includes almost $100 million in aid to the Central American governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to help reintegrate the illegal migrants whom the United States will send back, and to help keep them in their home countries, according to a White House statement.
The administration also announced it will set aside $161.5 million this year for the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) programs because the programs “are critical to enabling Central American countries to respond to the region’s most pressing security and governance challenges.”
“Our assistance will help stem migration flows as well as address the root cause of the migration,” the statement said.
The Obama administration has accused syndicates in Latin America of waging a deliberate campaign of misinformation that has caused people in poor Central American countries and Mexico to risk their lives to head for the United States, where they expect to stay.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration is addressing the problem in several ways.
“We’re going to open up some additional detention facilities that can accommodate adults that show up on the border with their children. And we’re going to deploy some additional resources to work through their immigration cases more quickly, so they’re not held in that detention facility for a long time, and hopefully be quickly returned to their home country,” Earnest said.
Earnest said the administration is also working with Central American countries to address the problem at its root.
“Some of that is an information campaign and countering this intentional misinformation campaign that’s being propagated by criminal syndicates. But also working through a host of USAID programs and the host governments, or the governments in these countries to try to meet some of the citizens’ security needs