The immigration issue will not help Democrats this year. Americans already disapprove of how the president is handling the issue. To put it mildly, sending foreign aid to Central America will not improve his political standing.
Americans' approval of President Barack Obama's handling of immigration has dropped to 31%, one of the lowest readings since 2010, when Gallup began polling on his handling of the issue. Meanwhile, two in three Americans (65%) disapprove of his handling of immigration.On Friday, Ricardo Zuñiga, the Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the National Security Council.announced:
Recent developments contributing to the ongoing debate about immigration include Obama's delay of a review of deportation policies by the Department of Homeland Security in the hope of striking a legislative deal on immigration reform with Congress. Also, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's recent primary loss was widely viewed as a defeat rooted in Cantor's perceived stance on immigration. The primary loss and subsequent shakeup in House leadership could spell greater challenges for Obama as he tries to work with Republicans. Additionally, the media has recently enlarged its spotlight on the increasing numbers of unaccompanied Central American children who have crossed the U.S. border, seeking their already immigrated family members and a generally better life.
I'll note that the U.S. government is going to be providing $9.6 million in support for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to invest in their repatriation centers so that as people are being removed they have someplace they can orderly land and then be processed back home.This move is not likely to be popular. Americans have long wanted to cut foreign aid. When Pew asked about spending on 19 areas, the only one in which a plurality wanted cuts was "aid to the world's needy."
In Guatemala, we're launching a new $40 million U.S. Agency for International Development program to improve citizen security in the areas that are most affected by violence. In El Salvador, we're launching a $25 million crime prevention USAID program to establish 77 youth centers, youth outreach centers, in addition to the 30 that we already have in place. And this is in the context of a substantial amount of assistance that we've provided under the Central American Regional Security Initiative and, as well, as we've provided under other types of assistance -- about $130 million in other forms of bilateral assistance to those three countries for programs related to health, education and to promote economic growth.