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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Work Visas to the US: How Do We Make Sure Women from the Northern Triangle Don’t Get Left Behind?

Gender equality has been touted as a political priority by the Biden administration, as demonstrated through the establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council, as well as its commitment to unveiling a whole-of-government strategy to advance gender equity and equality later this year. Here we make the case for why US immigration policy needs a gender-intentional approach, and how the administration should apply this approach towards policy in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

A pupusa stand in El Salvador

The Relationship Between Migration and Development in El Salvador

As Special Envoy Ricardo Zúñiga traveled to El Salvador this week, the number of people arriving to the US-Mexico border from the Northern Triangle is at its highest level in at least 15 years. Among the three Northern Triangle countries, El Salvador is the least represented among those arriving at the border. Yet, the rate of Salvadorans illegally migrating to the U.S. still vastly exceeds those who use lawful pathways.

Honduran migrants are shown lining up in a parking lot

The Missing Piece in Biden’s Plan for Central America: Bilateral Labor Agreements

Last week, President Biden issued a new Executive Order aiming, among other things, to “enhance access for individuals from the Northern Triangle to visa programs.” This is a big opportunity for the United States. People from this region need access to lawful migration pathways, and it is now the policy of the U.S. government to build them. The Administration can build those pathways today by signing bilateral labor agreements with Northern Triangle governments.

A Microcosm of US Border Policy toward Mexico

Boquillas del Carmen is a tiny village just over the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park in Texas that experienced a tremendous decline when US authorities closed the border in 2002. For decades, the town’s economy depended on tourists crossing over to enjoy spectacular views of the Chisos Mountains while eating homemade enchiladas at the one or two restaurants in town. Then, some months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government shut down all unofficial, unmanned border crossings with Mexico, including the one at Boquillas. Suddenly there were no more tourists.

A New Vision for US-Mexico Cooperation on Labor Mobility

Today we launch a detailed proposal for a new era of collaboration between the United States and Mexico: bilateral regulation of temporary, lawful labor mobility across the border. I join with a diverse, five-star group of experts from both countries—chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico and Carlos Gutierrez, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush (as featured in the New York Times)—to say that it is time for a new vision of the shared future at our shared border. We offer specific ways to get there.

Violence and Paranoia in the US–Mexico Borderlands

It is a major concern often heard from US border residents: how much might increasing drug cartel violence in Mexico “spill over” into the United States? It’s certainly true that illicit markets—in drugs, guns and people—have long flourished across the 2,000 mile frontier, and pose policy concerns for both countries. To date, the major strategy to tackle this problem has been a law enforcement approach sponsored by the United States. Is this the right approach?

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