Helping our southern neighbors prosper

Last week, I traveled to Mexico and Central America to discuss regional efforts to address the root causes of migration to the United States from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

Over the past several years, in my role as the top Democrat on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I have repeatedly traveled to Mexico and the Northern Triangle to meet with government officials, key leaders in the private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to study the underlying reasons for the recent increase in migration from Central American countries to our southern border.

Often, we focus too much attention to the symptoms of problems rather than working to address their underlying causes. This is particularly true when it comes to securing our borders and addressing the unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children coming to our country from Central America.

My latest visit to the region gave me the opportunity to sit down with leaders in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador and hear from them, first-hand, about their work to address the root causes of migration, including promoting economic opportunity, reestablishing rule of law, tackling violence, and inspiring hope in the Northern Triangle. I also got to hear about progress they are making to meet their commitments under the Alliance for Prosperity – a multi-national strategy among the Northern Triangle nations agreed to in November 2014 with the help of Vice President Joe Biden – to invest in key areas of their countries in order to bolster security and economic opportunity in the region and improve the lives of their citizens.

Much like Plan Colombia, which helped pull that nation back from the abyss of being overrun by drug cartels thirty years ago, the Alliance for Prosperity has the potential to foster economic growth and combat the drug cartels and extreme violence in the Northern Triangle that force so many people from their homes. With our continued support, we can help make these nations a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

By working to tackle the root causes driving migration to the United States, and helping these countries help themselves, we will not only strengthen America, but we will also help to create a stable, safe, and economically resilient region to our south, and help end preventable humanitarian crises at our border.

I invite you to view the full read-out from my latest trip, and view photos from the trip posted to my Facebook page.