Encounters of illegal migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border are at all-time highs 16 months after President Joe Biden took office promising to focus on the root causes.
In March 2021, Biden put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the U.S. response to the influx of migrants.
Harris then avoided visiting the southern border for nearly two months, saying that "we also need to deal with the root causes" that led millions to flee Central America for the U.S.
Still, more than 2 million migrants were stopped while attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico last year without authorization, the Washington Examiner reported.
Biden also announced several steps, including $310 million in aid, to address problems in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
While the administration also encouraged companies such as Microsoft and Mastercard to invest and help create jobs in Central America, migration out of the region has not slowed.
During the past 18 months, more than 1 million people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were encountered attempting to enter the U.S.
"The pay differential at the lowest end of the scale in the United States and those countries is about 10-to-1," Andrew Arthur, a former federal immigration judge and now a resident fellow at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, told the Examiner.
"If you're not going to pay people comparable wages in that country, you will actually increase their GDP, but you're not going to do much."
In in hopes of getting other countries to cooperate with the U.S. and deter illegal migration at their own borders, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has focused on improving diplomatic relations with Central American leaders.
Mayorkas traveled to Central America several times to meet with leaders about implementing better border security, as well as working collectively to find stable countries to send refugees.
Mayorkas visited Panama last month, when he signed the Bilateral Arrangement on Migration and Protection, in which both countries promised to improve migration management, expand stabilization efforts in the region, and increase access to legal pathways and protection for those in the region, the Examiner said.
"In the first nine months of the strategy, our efforts achieved notable progress and built on lessons learned to lay the path for continued success," a State Department spokesperson wrote in an email to the Examiner.
"Our work to ensure that Central Americans are able to build prosperous and safe futures at home continues. The challenges in the region will not be solved overnight."
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