"The U.S. is largely focused on getting Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala's leaders to agree to take back as many children as possible, cooperate in reintegrating them and outline what they are doing to stem the exodus of children and families, said Eric Olson, associate director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program.
The Central America presidents will be most interested in continued U.S. financial help in paying for security and bolstering their economies, either through direct aid or through favorable trade and commodities treatment and investment, Olson said.
“They will come forward and say that both sides have responsibility to do the best for the children, to be humane,” Olson said. “The administration is trying to walk a fine line of not encouraging more migration and at the same time recognizing there are a certain percent of children that have a legitimate claim of protection who they don’t want to send back to certain death.”
Since 2008, the U.S. has spent $803 million for all of Central America, and the three countries whose leaders are meeting with Obama take the lions' share of that aid.
The administration included in its $3.7 billion requests for programs targeting larger issues, but more is needed, Olson said.
“We need a better strategy, a more focused strategy that will produce results, strengthen the state, do a better job of preventing crime and do a better job of employing people,” he said."
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