The Biden administration is considering cash transfers to Northern Triangle countries in a bid to ease migration from those nations to the U.S., Reuters reported on Saturday.
The potential cash transfers could be accomplished by channeling funds through international or non-governmental organizations that would vet applicants, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Coronavirus vaccine exports are also being studied as a way to improve the economy of the Northern Triangle region, or the nations of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
“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,” said Roberta Jacobson, the White House coordinator for the southern border. “The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people.”
Jacobson said that the potential export of coronavirus vaccines was being considered separately from the immigration issue.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) criticized the cash transfer proposal.
“It’s insulting to the millions of Americans who are out of work or facing despair in our country,” McCarthy said.
The Biden administration is struggling with record-breaking levels of illegal crossings from Mexico into the U.S., with many migrants making the journey from the Northern Triangle region. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 172,331 migrants at the border in March, including 18,890 unaccompanied minors, the highest number of migrant children ever detained in a single month.
The number of migrants detained in March increased almost 100,000 from the 78,442 detained in January, the sharpest rise in attempted crossings in almost 20 years.