Administration

Harris announces new private-sector commitments to Central America

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to mark the first-ever federal Maternal Health Day of Action
Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Vice President Harris on Monday announced that additional companies will invest millions to improve the economy in Central America as part of her effort to address the root causes of migration.

The new commitments are part of a “call to action” that Harris announced in May. White House officials said that they bring the total of investments the vice president has secured to $1.2 billion.

Among the new commitments, PepsiCo is promising to invest $190 million in the Northern Triangle countries through 2025 to improve its plants and expand distribution routes; Parkdale Mills will spend $150 million to build a new yarn-spinning facility in Honduras; and the humanitarian organization CARE International is spending $50 million to establish a new Center for Gender Equity to support women and young people in Central America.

The group also includes Microsoft, Mastercard, the coffee company JDE Peet’s and Cargill.

Harris will discuss the new commitments during a roundtable event Monday afternoon at the White House that is part of a virtual conference organized by the State Department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership for Central America, a White House official said.

Chief executives of the companies making the new commitments will participate in the roundtable either in person or virtually.

President Biden announced in March that Harris would take on the difficult responsibility of addressing the root causes of migration, at a time when the administration was seeing a massive surge of migrants at the United States’ border with Mexico.

The vice president traveled to Mexico and Guatemala in June, a trip that proved controversial after Harris took heat from her own party for telling migrants “do not come” to the U.S.

White House officials have repeatedly cautioned that solving the root causes of migration will take time.

“This is not a project that will show results overnight. This is really complicated. It will take a long time for us to be able to do everything that we want to accomplish,” a senior White House official told reporters Sunday, previewing the announcement.

“But that said, over the course of the last several months, throughout this year, since March, there has been a really intensive effort, kind of all-hands-on-deck, starting with the vice president, her staff, White House staff, the interagency, and we’ve made some pretty dramatic progress in laying down a foundation,” the official said.

Harris announced an initial round of $750 million in commitments from private-sector firms to Central America in May.

Tags Central America El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Immigration Joe Biden migration

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