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Politics 3 ways to invest in Latin America to curb migration

01:40  16 april  2021
01:40  16 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

These are the White House staffers working with Kamala Harris on curbing Central American migration

  These are the White House staffers working with Kamala Harris on curbing Central American migration Vice President Kamala Harris has begun to assemble a team to assist her in efforts to stem the migration surge from several Central American countries into the U.S., which has created one of the Biden administration’s first major challenges. President Biden last month assigned Harris to take on this issue, similar to the role he played on migration in the Obama administration. Harris’s task, according to a member of her team, is to lead diplomatic efforts to “engage Mexico and the Northern Triangle to address the root causes of migration and to oversee the flow and use of U.S. aid,” as opposed to more granular immigration-focused issues surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border.

Latin America refers to the group of countries that comprise the central to southernmost parts of the Western hemisphere. The emerging economies, diverse populations and cultures, and an overall abundance of natural resources make the region of specific interest to investors looking to diversify their portfolios outside of the major markets. As the name suggests, the iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF) provides investors with targeted exposure to Latin American stocks. More specifically, the fund comprises 41 holdings from across Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

Cuban migration has also increased over the past five years. Since the Obama administration’s policy changes regarding Cuba went into place, a large new wave of Cubans have left the island through Ecuador and traveled by land all the way to the Mexican border in order to claim the dry foot policy. The United States and other migrant host countries in Latin America (Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, Dominican Republic), in Europe (Spain, Italy), and Asia (Japan) show a demand for foreign labor, both high skilled and low skilled. Regarding low skilled labor, guest worker programs or temporary permits

On his first day in the Oval Office, President Biden suspended the Trump policy that forced migrants arriving at the southern border to wait in Mexico while applying for asylum; reinstated Obama's program allowing children coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to reunite with their parents in the United States; and froze deportations of undocumented aliens who have committed criminal offenses. He also unveiled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, an immigration reform bill that would provide new pathways to citizenship for "Dreamers" and farmworkers while offering billions in aid to Central American countries.

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A crisis of migration into the United States from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras has resulted in negotiations by the White House with the governments of these countries aimed at preventing people from crossing the southern border. During the month of March, a record number of migrant workers and children There are growing numbers of people from Africa and other geo-political regions which have made their ways to Brazil, Colombia and Panama as a transit route into the U.S. Recent reports on the foreign policy orientation of the Biden administration in relationship to this burgeoning political problem

"What we need is someone who will… invest in the smart decisions and policies like investing in Central America to stop the outflow before it even begins", he said. “Donald Trump is the arsonist who gets the credit for putting out the fire,” @BetoORourke tells @DavidAxelrod on cutting aid to Central American countries. Throughout the year, numerous similar caravans followed, with Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala determined to be the travellers' main countries of origin. The Trump administration has repeatedly called on the three countries to curb the migration influx, to no avail.

a man standing in front of a building: 3 ways to invest in Latin America to curb migration © The Hill 3 ways to invest in Latin America to curb migration

The chances that these executive decisions would escape judicial challenges, and that a comprehensive immigration proposal would overcome a divided Congress, were never very high. But those chances are reduced now, considering the influx of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months - especially unaccompanied minors. The executive orders have prompted lawsuits from states including Texas and Louisiana against the Biden administration's new policies and have also riled up most congressional Republicans while sowing doubt among some Democrats.

To be sure, the wave of migrants coming from Mexico and Central America poses a provocative and politically divisive challenge to the United States. It cannot be ignored and needs to be tamed, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. But to a greater or lesser extent, the same troubled and underlying economic, social and political conditions have been present in many other Latin American countries. They explain why large waves of Dominicans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Peruvians and lately Venezuelans have also been arriving, albeit through other entry points and by stealthier means.

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Many Latin American countries are really bad places to invest because of their own government’s regulations and massive taxes. Insufficient infrastructure, poor communications, massive bribery and the other endemic problems don’t help, either. Add instability to that, and the very real chance of Firstly, the US does invest in Latin America 's development. The alliance for prosperity, for example, is a plan aimed at doing just what you propose. It will invest about a billion dollars in El Salvador's, Honduras' and Guatemala's economies so less people see migration as the only choice.

Latin Americans are not as welcoming to migrants and refugees as they once were. As in North American and Europe, many Latin Americans believe that there are already too many foreigners. A recent IPSOS poll reveals that Brazilians believe that 12% of the population is Muslim when the actual proportion is less than While there are many virtues of economic migration , the human costs and consequences of population displacement in Latin America are routinely swept under the carpet. The focus of governments across the region seems to be on containing rather than preventing displacement.

Therefore, the Biden administration must look beyond Central America. In fact, the potential challenges facing us are arguably even more worrisome in South America, where there are multiple cases of anti-American nationalism, populism, violence and actual or potential political instability. While Venezuela is the continent's most prominent disaster, trouble has been brewing in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru even before the devastating pandemic hit.

To cite but one indicator, Latin America was the only world region to have experienced zero economic growth in 2019, followed by the largest drop in real GDP in pandemic-driven 2020 - a collapse of 7 percent versus an emerging-markets average contraction of under 3 percent.

Beyond adjusting gatekeeping rules on the southern border, the Biden administration has a great opportunity to rebuild the ability of the U.S. government to support and protect those who advocate for better governance, respect for human rights - including property rights - and the rule of law throughout Latin America. As the White House has pointed out in relation to the immigration reform bill, the president's $4 billion plan to address the underlying causes of Central American emigration is "conditioned on their ability to reduce the endemic corruption, violence, and poverty that causes people to flee their home countries."

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Can I move to America if I am 17 years old? No. Only a family link, marriage with a US citizen, military, or a job are the ways to become a green card holder.

Latin Americans don’t actually want to lose contact with their extended family and friends, make a risky journey, and ultimately try to get established in a wildly different culture. They do those things because, for various reasons (economics, crime, corruption, etc.), the alternatives are worse. Moreover, as long as the current drastic contrast in economic development between the US and Latin America persists, immigration will be a natural phenomenon. The United States could invest in Latin America to reduce this trend.

Here are examples of what could be done with that, or other U.S. funding, for the benefit of all Latin America - and, over time, the United States.

1) Provide more financial support through USAID, the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy for the local civil-society organizations, independent investigative reporters, and academics that are making a difference in terms of enhancing government accountability and transparency, as well as exposing corruption.

2) Offer enhanced budgetary support to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States, so it may staff up and reduce its huge backlog of investigations into human rights violations, which often take a decade or more to be processed. Although the commission issues nonbinding recommendations, it has generally been useful in defending victims, suggesting reparations and influencing public policies throughout Latin America.

3) Increase funding for projects to expand access to justice, strengthen the independence of the courts, and professionalize civilian law-enforcement, discouraging corruption and political interference. Most countries lack effective policies on, and funding for, granting the disadvantaged access to justice, meeting judicial demand in outlying areas, or protecting judges and prosecutors who investigate organized crime. The independence and capabilities of prosecutors and judges must be supported by meritocratic selection practices, long and financially attractive appointments, and fair evaluation and disciplinary procedures.

Unrelated to funding, the U.S. government should refrain from filing claimant-unfriendly submissions in cases involving U.S. citizens or corporations seeking compensation before international arbitration tribunals for injustices perpetrated by Latin American governments. These arbitrations are contemplated by bilateral trade or investment agreements, and recourse to them is often necessary given the unwillingness of most Latin American judiciaries to rule against their own governments in disputes involving foreigners.

Arturo Porzecanski is a professor of international economics and an expert on Latin American economics and politics at American University's School of International Service.

Vice President Harris meets with nonprofit leaders to discuss root causes of Central American migration .
Harris told foundation leaders that she hopes to correct the conditions that drive people out of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, instead of just increasing security at the U.S. border with Mexico. “Most people don’t want to leave home. They don’t want to leave their grandparents, they don’t want to leave the culture,” Harris told leaders from the Ford Foundation and Open Societies Foundation, among others.

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This is interesting!