Vice President Kamala Harris announces $4.2 billion spending plan to prevent illegal immigration

Jalyn Smoot
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WASHINGTON - Target and Nestle became the latest companies to join the pledge to VP Kamala Harris' migrant program when they contributed $950 million to the cause.

The sizable, nearly $1 billion dollar contribution raised the combined total to $4.2 billion since Harris began accepting funds two years ago.

I launched a public-private partnership in 2021 to create economic opportunity for people in northern Central America to address the root causes of migration," Harris tweeted. "Today, I’m announcing we’ve generated more than $4.2 billion in private sector investments."

Target plans to increase spending in the region by $300 million over a decade and expand the use of vendors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Nestle said it will support 7,500 coffee producers and strengthen its supply chains, the White House said in a statement Monday.

Harris, who was appointed to be the "immigration czar" by President Biden, has done relatively little to slow illegal immigration to this point, but this is by far her largest initiative yet.

Instead of exhausting all resources toward border patrol, Harris aims to address issues that cause migrants to want to vacate their homes to begin with.

According to Harris, lack of employment, violence, and corruption frequently cause individuals to flee, which is a problem she wants to solve.

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 plans to use the $4.2 billion to help address the root causes of migration by creating economic opportunity in the region. 

These investments aim to create jobs, connect people to the digital economy, expand access to financing for small businesses, provide training and education for youth and workers, and improve economic livelihoods for people in the region, according to a press release from the White House.

Since Harris began accepting funds for the program, 47 companies, including Target and Nestle, have made multimillion-dollar contributions.

Here are a few companies confirmed to have made a contribution by the White House.

  • Chegg, an online-learning platform providing support to students who either cannot access the formal education system or have limited opportunity to benefit from such a structure, has committed to certifying 100,000 young adult learners with its online learning platform and technical skilling certification programs in Honduras by 2030, with a particular focus on underserved women.  Additionally, Chegg and the Partnership for Central America will collaborate on bringing academic support and language learning tools to over 10,000 learners annually looking to upskill and access jobs in the modern digital economy.
  • Columbia Sportswear Company has committed to purchase up to $200 million in products, which will create more than 6,900 jobs in the region over the next five years, in an industry where these jobs are primarily held by women.  
  • Nestle, Nespresso’s parent company, and Nescafé have committed to supporting more than 7,500 coffee producers in implementing regenerative agriculture practices, strengthening and further developing a supply chain of responsibly grown coffee, and training coffee producers to create and establish productive businesses in collaboration with USAID and fellow Call to Action partner, CoHonducafé.
  • Root Capital has committed to lend an additional $1.4 million to small businesses in  Guatemala in partnership with USAID as part of the Guatemala Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation (GEDI) Initiative, which will help these businesses grow and access capital.  In partnership with USAID, Root Capital has also committed to channeling a minimum of $80 million in loans to agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises with high-growth potential in Honduras. 
  • Target has committed to increasing its spending by $300 million in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras by 2033. They will deepen existing relationships with vendors and intend to expand vendor relationships that have a presence in all three countries in the region.

After a relatively quiet first two years in office, Harris' new plan is her most daring and expensive venture yet.

Prior to this, Texas Governor Greg Abbott repeatedly criticized Harris' immigration policies.

Abbott even went as far as to send buses of migrants to Harris' home to draw her attention to the southern border, where illegal immigration was on the rise.

Despite her critics, Harris seems intent on making the flow of immigration more seamless, and this plan is a step in that direction.

More information on Harris' plan can be found in the initial Fact Sheet announcing the Call to Action on May 27.  

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