Jun 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. launches new efforts to stem corruption, smuggling in Northern Triangle

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with interpreters, before a Rivera mural in Mexico’s National Palace on June 8.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with interpreters, before a Rivera mural in Mexico’s National Palace on June 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Guatemala and Mexico ended with the promise to create groups to combat corruption in the Northern Triangle and to renew efforts against human trafficking and human smuggling organizations.

Details: The U.S. will send prosecutors to work with regional attorneys and to investigate and pursue cases with American links. The aim is to decrease migration in the long term by fostering better governance and accountability.

Various U.S. agencies are also set to provide $48 million to develop housing and agribusiness devastated by recent hurricanes in Guatemala, and to support that country’s entrepreneurs, especially young women, in regions of high emigration.

  • A bilateral plan with Mexico also promises to establish an FBI partnership to help solve over 82,000 cases of people who are missing or forcibly disappeared in that country.

Mexican and U.S. law enforcement will also increase collaboration against smugglers and improve the exchange of information to combat transnational criminal organizations that are responsible for “homicides and drug-related deaths on both sides of the border.”

Driving the news: Harris drew criticism in the U.S for traveling to the countries that people emigrate from before she visited the border, where unaccompanied minors are still arriving and being held.

  • Politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) spoke out against the vice president’s “do not come” message aimed at Central Americans, which the administration has sent through its embassies as well.
  • That message, AOC tweeted, seemingly ignores that seeking asylum in the U.S. is legal, and that many do so because of instability fostered by past American governments that supported restrictive regimes ousted in civil wars.

Go deeper: Harris says U.S. and Mexico are "embarking on a new era"

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