Biden’s New Approach to Central America Is Welcome, but It Won’t Be Easy

Biden’s New Approach to Central America Is Welcome, but It Won’t Be Easy
Then-Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemala’s foreign minister at the time, in Guatemala City, Jan. 14, 2016 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

President Donald Trump has mostly ignored Central America save for his attempts to bully the region’s leaders into helping him slash the number of immigrants entering the United States, but President-elect Joe Biden is promising a radically different approach. With extensive foreign policy experience and a genuine interest in Central America stemming from his time as vice president, when he served as former President Barack Obama’s chief regional emissary, Biden has vowed to directly address the brutal conditions that are at the heart of the migration crisis in Central America.

Biden has also pledged to “immediately do away with” President Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration policies, which have overwhelmingly targeted Central Americans fleeing violence, persecution and a lack of economic opportunity, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. His approach is likely to face an early test, as two back-to-back hurricanes devastated the region last month, displacing more than half a million people. Some of them are already fleeing north to seek a better life in the United States, and many more are expected to follow.

But while Biden’s change in tack toward Central America is being welcomed across the region, there are several reasons to be skeptical that he can actually realize his proposed vision.

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