MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday he plans to propose to his US counterpart Joe Biden to extend one of his key welfare programs to Central America to curb immigration.
Hunger and poverty have driven tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras north to cross the US border.
“I would like to propose that the Sembrando Vida program be implemented in Central America,” said Lopez Obrador in a video message from Palenque in southern Mexico. “So people are not forced to migrate, and that helps the environment.”
Sembrando Vida, one of Lopez Obrador’s main welfare programs, aims to provide jobs to Mexicans and support the country’s agriculture.
Lopez Obrador said in three years the program could create up to 1.3 million jobs in southern Mexico and central American countries.
Participants could get a work visa to the United States after successfully participating in the program for three years, and eventually apply for US citizenship after another three years. He did not provide any further details.