Washington, DC – Just days before Vice President Kamala Harris travels to Mexico and Central America, the Biden Administration has launched a new working group to unite government, civil society, philanthropy, and private sector partners to identify and implement sustainable solutions that address the root causes of migration from Central America. The bipartisan Partnership for Central America has issued a call to action for private sector companies to provide targeted aid to support the global refugee crisis through education, employment, and enablement. The working group includes support from a diverse list of private partners and philanthropic leaders, including Microsoft, which co-founded Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).
“The systemic challenges that drive unaccompanied children from Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border are complex, but not insurmountable,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Today’s announcement demonstrates how strategic private-public partnerships can lead to meaningful, sustainable change in the region. These leaders bring the kind of concrete commitments and financial resources necessary to create communities capable of protecting children and providing opportunities for their families. The Biden Administration is right to take this step toward long-term solutions while continuing to address the immediate protection needs of unaccompanied children currently arriving at our southern border. It should also hold Central American government officials accountable for the role they’ve played in failing to address the root causes of migration.”
According to today’s announcement, Vice President Harris will lead the working group’s efforts with a focus on financial and digital inclusion, digital access in rural communities, climate resiliency, health access, and education availability. The group will also address government and security issues such as gender equality, labor protection, public safety, corruption, and the rule of law. The Partnership for Central America plans to partner with the World Economic Forum to convene additional private and public sector leaders around the group’s objectives.
“This work will complement the Biden Administration’s stated commitment to addressing the root causes of migration in Central America,” Young noted. “As Vice President Harris travels to the region next month, it is vital that she seek additional avenues for the United States to invest in programs and people working to address the immediate needs of children and their families in Central America. Last year’s hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ongoing violence, food insecurity, gender-based violence, and other serious challenges, have left many with no option but to flee in search of safety. The United States must prioritize both its work to address these immediate needs with its efforts to implement more long-term solutions.”
Beyond engagement with those included participating in this newly launched working group, KIND is urging the administration to engage with a broad range of civil society actors in the region who provide key programming to address the root causes of migration. The administration should also hold Central American government leaders accountable for the corruption and impunity that has created the space for criminal enterprises to flourish.
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