DearColleague.us

Letter

Albio Sires

From the office of:

Albio Sires

Sending Office: Honorable Albio Sires
Sent By:
Ricardo.Martinez@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Support Northern Triangle Funding in FY2021 SFOPS Appropriations Bill

***Deadline to sign on has changed to
March 12, 2020 by 12p.m.
***

Dear colleague:

I, joined by Ranking Member Rooney, am requesting that no less than $490 million be directed to the Northern Triangle. The requested amount follows the request in the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (H.R.
2615
), passed last year in the House.

Following the assistance cuts last March, I believe it is critical to restore USG programming aimed at addressing the root causes of migration. This letter not only requests binding language to ensure FY21 appropriations are directed to the region, but also
requests bill language intended to restore the unexpended FY19 and FY20 funds. Lastly, it requests a report regarding narcotics trafficking corruption and illicit campaign finance in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—a request Congresswoman Torres had called
for and was incorporated in the FY19 NDAA.

I have attached the text of the letter here. To join me in sending this letter to the House Appropriations Committee, please fill out
this form. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ricardo Martinez at
Ricardo.Martinez@mail.house.gov.
The deadline to sign on is COB March 12, 2020.

 

Sincerely,

Albio Sires

Member of Congress

 

 

 

The Honorable Nita Lowey                                                           The Honorable Hal Rogers

Chairwoman                                                                                       Ranking Member            

Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and              Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations,

Related Programs                                                                            Related Programs

Room H-307, The Capitol                                                              2406 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515                                                                 Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Rogers:

As you prepare the Fiscal Year 2021 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill, we urge you to provide no less than $490 million in funding for the Northern Triangle. Furthermore, we ask that you include language ensuring
that the Administration is obliged to expend these funds and not redirect them outside of the subregion.

As you know, in March 2019, the State Department and USAID suspended the provision of development and economic assistance for Central America’s Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The suspension undermined longstanding bipartisan
policy goals in the Northern Triangle. The U.S. Government has been left with few tools to respond to recent setbacks, such as the termination of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Mission to Support the Fight against
Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH)—two internationally supported institutions that were working with domestic prosecutors to reduce corruption, which is a key driver of irregular migration to the United States.

Congress has appropriated nearly $3.1 billion for Central America since FY2016, much of it directed to the Northern Triangle countries. Yet half of the funds appropriated have been reprogrammed, withheld or not obligated by the executive branch. Further
abandoning these investments is counterproductive to addressing the underlying drivers of irregular migration to the United States, including widespread insecurity, fragile governmental institutions, and high levels of unemployment. In FY2019, nearly 608,000
unauthorized migrants from the Northern Triangle countries were apprehended at the southwest border—81% of them were families or unaccompanied minors.

Evidence from past programs suggests that a renewed focus on reducing food insecurity, combating corruption, and strengthening democratic institutions can improve living conditions in Northern Triangle countries and reduce the causes of migration.  In El
Salvador, for example, USAID helped reduce homicide rates by more than 50% in municipalities where it operated. In Guatemala, USAID helped create over 75,000 new jobs in the Western Highlands and Peten Department alone. In Honduras, USAID lifted 90,000 people
out of extreme poverty.

We know that this Committee recognizes the importance of addressing the violence and instability in Central America in order to advance U.S. national security interests. We have therefore recommended that the Committee include binding language to require
that assistance appropriated this year and by prior acts in FY2019 and FY2020 is actually spent on assistance programs that address key drivers of migration from Central America. We are also requesting a report on narcotics trafficking corruption and illicit
campaign finance in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

We believe the U.S. Government should fund programs that help Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans envision a future in their home countries, rather than making the dangerous journey to the United States. We therefore urge you to ensure we fully resume
our assistance to the Northern Triangle.

 

We appreciate your consideration.

 

 

________________________                                  _________________________

Albio Sires                                                                           Francis Rooney

Chairman                                                                             Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere                Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere

Committee on Foreign Affairs                                     Committee on Foreign Affairs

 
 

ADDENDUM

Suggested Bill Language on Northern Triangle Below:

(1) FUNDING. — Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act, not less than $490,000,000 shall be made available for programming in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Provided, That such funds shall be made available for global health, food security, humanitarian, development, and democracy and governance programs, including for programs to reduce violence against women and girls and to combat corruption and impunity,
as appropriate. Provided further, That not less than $45,000,000 shall be for support of governmental and non-governmental efforts to combat corruption and impunity in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

(2) ASSISTANCE APPROPRIATED BY PRIOR ACTS. —

(A) FISCAL YEAR 2019. — Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (division F of Public Law 116–6), not less than $527,600,000
shall be made available for assistance for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Provided, That such funds shall be made available for global health, food security, border security, law enforcement, humanitarian, development, and democracy and governance programs for the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, including
for programs to reduce violence against women and girls and to combat corruption and impunity, as appropriate.

(B) FISCAL YEAR 2020. — Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (division G of Public Law 116–69), not less than $519,885,000
shall be made available for assistance for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, including through the Central America Regional Security Initiative.
Provided, That such funds shall be made available for global health, food security, humanitarian, development, and democracy and governance programs for the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, including for programs to reduce violence
against women and girls and to combat corruption and impunity, as appropriate.

(3) CONDITIONS ON ASSISTANCE FOR THE GOVERNMENTS OF EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, AND HONDURAS. —

(A) Of the funds made available pursuant to paragraph (1) under the heading ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’ and under title IV of this Act that are made available for assistance for each of the central governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, 50 percent
may only be obligated after the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that such government is –

(i) combating corruption and impunity, including prosecuting corrupt government officials;

(ii) implementing reforms, policies, and programs to increase transparency and strengthen public institutions;

(iii) protecting the rights of civil society, opposition political parties, and the independence of the media;

(iv) providing effective and accountable law enforcement and security for its citizens, and upholding due process of law;

(v) investigating and prosecuting in the civilian justice system government personnel who are credibly alleged to have violated human rights;

(vi) supporting programs to reduce poverty, expand education and vocational training, especially and including for at-risk youth, create jobs, and promote equitable economic growth, particularly in areas contributing to large numbers
of migrants;

(vii) supporting the independence of the judiciary and of electoral institutions;

(viii) improving border security;

(ix) combating human smuggling and trafficking and countering the activities of criminal gangs, drug traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations; and

(x) informing its citizens of the dangers of the journey to the southwest border of the United States

 

(B) EXCEPTION. — The limitation described in subparagraph (A) does not apply to funds appropriated by this Act for humanitarian assistance or global food security programs.

 

(4) REPORT – Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the congressional defense committees, the Committee
on Foreign Relations of the Senate, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives,
a report regarding narcotics trafficking corruption and illicit campaign finance in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

(i) MATTERS TO BE INCLUDED. —The report required under subsection (a) shall include —

(a.) the names of senior government officials in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who are known (or alleged) to have committed or facilitated acts of grand corruption or narcotics trafficking;

(b.) the names of elected officials in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who are known (or alleged) to have received campaign funds that are the proceeds of narco-trafficking or other illicit activities in the last 2 years; and

(c.) the names of individuals in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who are known (or alleged) to have facilitated the financing of political campaigns in any of the Northern Triangle countries with the proceeds of narco-trafficking
or other illicit activities in the last 2 years.

(ii) FORM. —The report submitted under subsection (a) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may include a classified annex.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Foreign Affairs, Immigration

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