Getty Images / John Moore

Obama To Request $1B For Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

President Obama will ask Congress for $1 billion in aid for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to an op-ed by VP Joe Biden in the NYTimes.

By Kate Grumke | January 30, 2015

President Obama will ask Congress for $1 billion in aid for El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to an op-ed Joe Biden wrote in the New York Times.

"We have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at great risk," President Obama said last summer. 

Central American leaders have been discussing solutions with The White House since a visit to Washington last July. (Video via WJLA)

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The requested $1 billion would go to the three main countries that fueled the surge in child migrants at the U.S. border this summer. (Video via ABC)

"They had already told me that they were going to kill me," one undocumented migrant minor told CBS

According to Department of Homeland Security figures, almost 70,000 unaccompanied minors entered the U.S. illegally last summer. 

Many, like the one you just heard from, say they were running from gang violence in their home countries. Others from poverty.

Biden wrote, "The security and prosperity of Central America are inextricably linked with our own."

The aid money is part of a plan to address three major development issues in the region: security, government accountability and economic opportunity

For security, Biden wants to beef up community policing and work to push out organized crime groups, like the cartels, from the region. (Video via Government of Guatemala)

For government accountability, the plan is to make the tax and court systems more transparent in a region where perceived corruption is high. (Video via TVC Honduras)

And finally, the Obama administration has some ideas to create economic opportunity. These include improved regulations to attract more foreign investment and trade plus investment in education. (Video via Government of Guatemala)

A senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America tweeted: "First take on #CentralAmerica aid proposal: not bad. ~70% for civilian priorities; security aid avoids big dumb focus on drugs/helicopters."

But some seem less optimistic. Fox News host Steve Doocy summed up his thoughts Friday morning: "'The money will end poverty and keep children from seeking opportunities in the United States.' Good in theory ... "

If Congress approves this $1 billion proposal, the U.S. will commit to giving the region three times as much aid as it has in years past.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.

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