Carper Leads Bipartisan and Bicameral Congressional Delegation to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras
Washington, February 27, 2023
U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, senior Democrat of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chairman of the International Trade Subcommittee on Finance, returned from a 6-day bipartisan, bicameral congressional delegation visit to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to discuss the root causes of migration and strengthen relationships between our countries.
Joining Senator Carper was U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and U.S. Reps. Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.).
Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Partnership for Central America announced more than $4.2 billion in commitments for the region since the Vice President’s Call to Action started in May 2021. Sen. Carper and the delegation members saw first-hand how these investments are creating jobs, connecting people to the digital economy, expanding access to financing for small businesses, providing training and education for youth and workers and improving economic livelihoods for people in the region.
In Mexico, the delegation met with the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and Secretary of the Economy Raquel Buenrostro to discuss our shared interests on the economy, trade, security and migration issues affecting our countries. The delegation also met with representatives from the Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AMEXCID) to discuss their partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address root causes of regional migration and sustainable economic development efforts in Southern Mexico, and cooperation in workforce and agricultural development in Central America. The delegation had discussions about Mexico’s implementation and compliance with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), as well as rule of law issues surrounding security and violence across Mexico.
In Guatemala, the delegation examined U.S. strategies on reducing irregular migration to the U.S. border by promoting safe, orderly, and humane migration, improving access to protection for those fleeing persecution and torture, and strengthening migration cooperation and responsibility sharing throughout North and Central America. They met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss cooperation between our two countries and areas in which we work well together. To better understand economic development in the region, the group met with the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss the investment climate and toured Textiles Imperial, a new facility that reflects some key aspects of textile investment success in Guatemala. The delegation had an opportunity to meet with civil society leaders to discuss rule of law and security issues in the country, before making a final stop at El Refugio de la Ninez (The Children’s Shelter), a USAID-funded shelter that provides protection and services for victims of trafficking and unaccompanied migrant children. The delegation met with residents to hear their stories and learn how the shelter provides temporary housing, medical care, psychosocial assistance, education and legal support.
In Honduras, the delegation met with Ambassador Laura Dogu and learned how the U.S. works with the Honduran government, private sector, civil society and others to address regional challenges, including irregular migration, food insecurity, economic opportunity, the fight against corruption, transnational criminal networks, narcotics and human trafficking, money laundering and climate change. They met with Honduran Minister of Economic Development Pedro Barquero and Minister for Investment Promotion Miguel Molina, as well as key representatives of the Honduran private sector. Additionally, the delegation toured CoHonducafe, a leading Honduran coffee exporter, to learn how their partnership with USAID is helping Honduran farmers improve productivity and access formal markets, which are providing economic opportunities and jobs. The delegation toured the Belen Child and Family Migrant Return Center to understand how USAID is both supporting a safe and dignified return for returned children and families, and reintegration of returned migrants into their communities. The delegation also met with the Honduran National Police’s counternarcotics unit to hear about drug trafficking trends and emerging threats in the region.
“Since my days as Governor of Delaware, I’ve tried to examine the root causes of issues facing our state. When it comes to irregular migration affecting our Southern Border, we cannot simply put a Band-Aid on the problem by investing in border security. We must also look at how we can help address the unimaginable conditions suffered by so many,” said Sen. Carper. “The violence, corruption and lack of economic opportunity in Central America force many families to make the difficult decision to flee for their lives and seek safe haven in the U.S. Our trip allowed us to hear first-hand how the Biden Administration’s foreign policy efforts and investments into the region are helping to improve the lives of so many people, and how we can build on these efforts to create economic opportunity and hope in these countries.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mexican, Guatemalan, and Honduran government and law enforcement officials, as well as visit with workers, businesses, and civil society leaders, during our bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip,” said Senator Hassan. “One important focus of our trip was on drug trafficking – as New Hampshire continues to see overdoses from fentanyl and other deadly drugs that come through the countries that we visited, I pressed government and law enforcement officials in these countries on the importance of cracking down on drug trafficking. We also discussed economic development efforts and trade between our countries, and the need to continue working together to address migration challenges in a humane and secure way.”
“Our bipartisan CODEL to Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras provided many opportunities to see and hear from local people firsthand about challenges facing their countries and ours, including sustainable growth, conservation, trade, labor rights, and much more,” said Rep. Beyer. “We had productive conversations with national and local leaders, learned about economic development efforts, and discussed the root causes of migration. I very much appreciate Senator Carper’s leadership in bringing this bipartisan CODEL together, the opportunity to get to know my other colleagues who joined us better, and the perspectives of the many people we met on our trip. And I look forward to bringing what I learned back to the House to inform future legislative work.”
“Economic and diplomatic relationships with our Western Hemisphere neighbors are more important than ever,” said Rep. Smith, chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee. “Seeing first-hand how trade agreements impact our allies reinforced the value of market access through true, enforceable trade agreements while also underscoring the areas where we have additional work to do, especially when it comes to enforcement. I thank Senator Carper for leading this thoughtful and bipartisan fact-finding effort, as well as our hosts in the region for their time and attention.”
“I’m excited to see Democrats and Republicans coming together in a bipartisan fashion to address the immigration crisis facing our country,” said Rep. Carl. “Together, we can fix our broken immigration system by working with our regional partners to create economic prosperity for all and secure our nation’s borders.”