The United States is considering a conditional cash transfer program to help address economic woes that lead migrants from certain Central American countries to trek north, as well as sending COVID-19 vaccines to those countries, a senior White House official told Reuters on Friday.
The possible cash transfer program would be targeted at people in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told Reuters in an interview, without saying who exactly would receive the cash.
Roughly 168,000 people were picked up by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in March, the highest monthly tally since March 2001 and part of steadily increasing arrivals in recent months.
“We’re looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,” she said.
Jacobson did not provide a detailed explanation of how any cash transfer program would work.
“The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,” she said.
Jacobson said that no decision had been made regarding whether to prioritize sending vaccines to the Northern Triangle countries, but added that the Biden administration would consider how the vaccines could help ailing economies in those countries.
(Reporting by Ted Hesson and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
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