During the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection Ministerial in Guatemala City, Guatemala, the U.S. Department of State (State) announced a plan to provide economic development and humanitarian assistance to partner countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The funding is meant to help minimize the flow of irregular migration and “improve the lives of millions of people” throughout the Western Hemisphere.

According to a statement from the Office of the Spokesperson announcing $578 million in aid, the money is to be used for “humanitarian, development, and economic assistance to support partner countries and help communities to respond to urgent humanitarian needs, expand lawful pathways, and support the regularization and integration of migrants.”

The statement goes on to say that nearly $459 million in additional humanitarian assistance is intended to respond to the needs of “refugees, vulnerable migrants, and other displaced persons” across the Western Hemisphere including support for the Safe Mobility Initiative which expands access to lawful pathways for refugees and migrants across the region.

The assistance announced in Guatemala advances the goals of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and will address humanitarian needs arising from historic levels of displacement, with more than 22 million people displaced across the region, including more than 7.7 million Venezuelans,” reads the statement.

Through this assistance, the United States is making it possible for millions of refugees, migrants, and other vulnerable displaced persons in the region to meet their basic needs, safely remain in, integrate into, contribute to the local economy, and rebuild their lives where they are.”

With programs like these, the question always surrounds how much of it will actually reach the people since it’s handled through international organizations that are often bloated and have massive overhead. While State says these programs have successfully stem the flow of migrants throughout North and South America, tangible results are hard to come by as the U.S. government rarely provides the data showing results.

However, the press release does offer a list of “hemispheric achievements” accomplished through the Los Angeles Declaration. Some of those include registering 2.5 million Venezuelans for Temporary Protected Status in Colombia, providing shelter, water, and sanitation to more than one million Venezuelans in Lima, Peru, clean water for more than 800,000 people in Panama and Costa Rica, emergency food assistance to migrants in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, and humanitarian assistance within Venezuela including emergency food assistance; access to primary healthcare services and basic medicines and medical supplies; provision of safe drinking water and distribution of hygiene kits; and programs that help safeguard vulnerable Venezuelans, especially vulnerable women and children, from violence and exploitation.

Meanwhile, the Department of State sent a Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues to Bolivia and Mexico to “communicate the work of the State Department and emphasize the United States’ commitment to fostering youth leadership and cooperation in the Americas.”

In Bolivia, Special Envoy Finkenauer will connect with youth and young professionals through a series of engagements focused on education, leadership, and civic engagement,” reads a statement. “She will engage with students at local universities, visit an “Inglés Yes!” classroom to meet with recipients of a U.S. Embassy La Paz-supported English scholarship program, and join a panel discussion on digital violence.

In Mexico, Special Envoy Finkenauer will reinforce the United States’ commitment to youth development through discussions with alumni of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). She will also engage with the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) and visit the Boys and Girls Club in Ecatepec to learn about their programs and discuss opportunities for collaboration.”

Regarding the funding, State assures taxpayers that it “implements rigorous safeguards against the diversion of funds” and works through trusted organizations that they say ensure assistance reaches those who need it.

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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