Desperate to get control of the worsening border crisis, President Joe Biden appeared to adopt one of former president Donald Trump’s strategies: He negotiated with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to boost security at their borders in an effort to curb migration.
“The objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey and make crossing the borders more difficult,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week, according to the New York Times.
“We worked with them to increase law enforcement at the border to deter the travel, which is a treacherous journey, where many lose their lives,” she added.
Psaki said Mexico will keep 10,000 troops at its southern border. Guatemala also will keep 1,500 military and police officers at its border with Honduras, with 12 checkpoints stationed along migration routes. Honduras has agreed to increase its police force to 7,000 officers.
Trump’s negotiations with the Northern Triangle countries were instrumental in helping his administration get control of the 2019 border crisis. Biden, however, repealed most of Trump’s policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy, when he took office.
On one hand, the move seemed part of a ploy to redirect attention away from the border, where Biden’s catastrophic policy reversals have led to thousands of children being locked in cages as cases of coronavirus, crime and sexual abuse run rampant.
“If you just focus on our border, you’re not addressing why people are actually coming to our border,” Tyler Moran, a special assistant to the president on immigration for the Domestic Policy Council, said this weekend. “And so, the president has a blueprint, and he’s working with the vice president on this.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, however, has appeared to dispute those claims and downplay her involvement in the border crisis, insisting her role was more “diplomatic.”
Concerning the Central American agreement, the Biden administration has not said what the United States’s end of the bargain is.
But Moran said Biden’s plan is to continue sending money to the region.
“So investing in the region—and we’ve already done that,” he explained. “We’ve already sent million dollars of aid to the region to help address the violence, to help address the hurricanes, to do everything from tutoring kids to broken streetlights.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development recently said it would deliver disaster response aid to three Northern Triangle countries to assist with their recovery from two hurricanes that devastated the area last year.
Trump initially cut off funding to the countries that were responsible for much of the immigration problem.
He agreed to restore it after the countries got on board with stricter policies, but he said he did not restore the full amount they had received under the Obama administration.