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Obama's Central American Aid: A Shared Prosperity for the Americas

Meeting on the unaccompanied Central American children migration

Meeting on the unaccompanied Central American children migration. (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

February 18, 2015

President Barack Obama took a historic leap forward this month by asking Congress to fund a $1 billion assistance package to Central America to provide support to countries in the Northern Triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These three countries continue to face security, governance and economic challenges that are at the root of a recent surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border into the United States. The assistance package, part of the country’s fiscal year 2016 budget, is critically important, for several reasons.

Ensuring that Central America transitions from a cycle of poverty, corruption and insecurity into a prosperous region that provides opportunities for its citizens is important not only for the sake of U.S. national security but for general hemispheric stability. With per capita murder rates averaging 26 people per 100,000 inhabitants, Central America ranks as one of the world’s most violent regions. Transnational organized crime erodes democratic institutions and governance, creating a violent region not far from the U.S. borders.

The migration of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing poverty and violence from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras last summer may persist if the underlying challenges remain unresolved. U.S. assistance in the shape of a real partnership is of paramount importance if we want to witness effective change....

Read the full article in U.S. News & World Report's online opinion section.