Alliance for Prosperity

A broad, multiyear initiative underway in the countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—aims to address some of the structural issues that have led to increased emigration from the region.

“Nearly 9% of our population has decided to leave, resulting in a major loss of human capital,” states the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, adopted in late 2014. “For the most part, this flight of our people stems from the lack of economic and job opportunities in our countries, growing violence, and the departure of those who want to reunite with relatives living abroad.” The problem “came into sharper focus” because of the steep rise in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border in 2013-2014, the plan states.

The U.S. government has allocated $750 million in the current fiscal year to support the plan, which seeks not just to create economic opportunities but to improve public safety and increase government accountability and effectiveness.

The funding comes with strings attached: Congress established that one quarter of the assistance must be withheld until it can be certified that these governments have taken effective steps to combat human smuggling and trafficking, improve border security and facilitate “the safe return, repatriation, and reintegration of undocumented migrants,” according to a White House fact sheet. An additional 50 percent of U.S. assistance may be obligated only after governments meet such criteria as combating corruption, strengthening public institutions, protecting human rights and increasing government revenues.