Feb 6, 2023
Target, Nestle Join $950 Million Pledge to Kamala Harris Migration Plan
(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Kamala Harris announced $950 million in contributions from companies including Target Corp. and Nestle SA aimed at addressing poverty and violence that is driving migration from Central America.
Target has promised to boost spending in the region by $300 million over a decade and increase the use of vendors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Nestle has said it will support 7,500 coffee producers and strengthen its supply chains, the White House said in a statement Monday.
Millicom International Cellular SA pledged to invest an additional $350 million by 2025 to expand mobile and broadband networks, while Columbia Sportswear Co. has promised to purchase $200 million in products, creating 6,900 jobs in the region over the next five years.
President Joe Biden chose Harris in 2021 as his point person to address the root causes of migration from Central America. Historic numbers of border crossings have dogged Biden politically since he was inaugurated, and the three Central American countries have traditionally been a major source of migrants.
Harris has focused her efforts on addressing problems that force migrants to leave those countries, including lack of economic opportunity, violence and corruption.
“People generally do not want to leave home. And when they do, it is because they are either fleeing some harm or because staying home will mean that they cannot satisfy the basic needs of their family and themselves,” Harris said Monday during the announcement.
Harris launched an initiative called the Partnership for Central America to marshal private-sector support for the region aimed at creating more economic activity and jobs. The $950 million announced Monday pushes the overall total to more than $4.2 billion across 47 companies and organizations.
The US has seen a 71% decline in encounters since August 2021 from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras at the southwest border, a senior administration official told reporters.
But overall encounters at the US-Mexico border remain near historic highs, due to surges in migration from other countries, including Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti more recently. Biden last month expanded a program allowing the government to quickly expel migrants from those countries using a public health authority know as Title 42, while allowing 30,000 people per month to apply to live and work legally in the US.
(Adds remarks from Harris starting 5th paragraph. An earlier version corrected details on Target’s pledge.)
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