Pence meets with Central American leaders to address illegal immigration

Mike Pence speaking (© Jose Luis Magana/AP Images)
Vice President Pence speaks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America in Washington on October 11. (© Jose Luis Magana/AP Images)

At the second Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, Vice President Pence spoke to leaders from the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) and Mexico about the ongoing immigration crisis.

“Over the last year alone, more than 225,000 Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans have left their homes and made the often-dangerous journey to attempt to illegally enter the southern border of the United States,” Pence said on October 11. “And these numbers are growing.”

The vice president emphasized, “The United States of America has never been more committed to strengthening our partnership with the nations in the Northern Triangle to help you tackle the problems facing our shared neighborhood.”

Chart showing local labor earnings lost because of emigration in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala (State Dept./S. Wilkinson)
(State Dept./S. Wilkinson)

“We will continue to stand with you to fight against corruption in your nations, [and] to strengthen the rule of law,” he said.

People leaving their homes in the region harms their local economies. A 2018 World Bank study found that people leaving Northern Triangle countries resulted in a loss of local labor earnings of 3.2 percent in Guatemala, 3.5 percent in Honduras and 5.5 percent in El Salvador.

To help address the crisis, the United States has provided $2.6 billion in foreign assistance to Central America in the last three years. The money is used to improve law enforcement and provide job training so that people feel safe in their communities as they work and foster economic growth.

The best way to solve these problems is to build a “stronger, safer and more prosperous Western Hemisphere,” Pence said. “The United States of America has never been more committed” to that mission.