Spanberger Returns from Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Visit to Central America Focused on Combating Transnational Criminal Organizations, Preventing Illegal Migration

The Congresswoman Joined Republicans and Democrats in El Salvador & Guatemala to Meet with Government Officials, Business Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, & Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today returned from a bipartisan, official congressional delegation (CODEL) visit to Central America focused on strengthening the security of America’s borders and ports of entry, as well as addressing the root causes of illegal migration in the region.

This week’s CODEL was focused on oversight of the Biden Administration’s actions to stem irregular migration from and via Central America to the United States. Spanberger was joined by U.S. Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA-46), John Katko (R-NY-24), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), and Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23).

In both El Salvador and Guatemala, Spanberger and the delegation met with civil society leaders and business leaders to discuss their work, the impact of irregular immigration on their societies and economies, the challenges they face in trying to build opportunities and mitigate the root motivations for migration, and how the U.S. government can support these efforts — both at home and through international engagement. Spanberger and the delegation also met with U.S. Foreign Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) officers in both countries to discuss their work implementing the Biden Administration’s root causes of migration strategy.

“To better understand the challenges coming from Central America and how they impact the security of the United States, it’s important to meet directly with officials, business leaders, and law enforcement on the ground,” said Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement officer and CIA case officer who worked narcotics trafficking cases. “This bipartisan delegation trip was an opportunity to learn more about how the United States can strengthen the information we have related to transnational criminal organizations, bring order to our southern border, and work in partnership with these countries to prevent further humanitarian crises in the region. I am grateful for the cooperation of the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador during this fact-finding mission, and I look forward to continuing my work in Congress related to the security of our borders and the long-term stability of our neighbors in Central America.”

In both countries, the delegation toured “near-shoring” facilities, including a technology company in El Salvador that runs training programs to create opportunities for Salvadorans at home as an alternative to migration and manufacturing facilities in Guatemala that leverage the strength of U.S. investment to create stable job opportunities. 

In El Salvador, Spanberger and the delegation also visited the Joint Border Information Group (GCIF) headquarters. GCIF brings together law enforcement and immigration authorities from seven countries in the region — and Interpol — to share information about transnational criminal activities, particularly migrant smuggling and human trafficking. 

In El Salvador, Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill Tinoco and Ambassador Milena Mayorga welcomed the CODEL for bilateral discussions at the Foreign Ministry about the economic, political, and social impact of migration on El Salvador. 

In Guatemala, Spanberger and the delegation met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, and multiple cabinet members to similarly discuss the impact of migration on Guatemala’s economy and society. 

Click here for photos from the CODEL.

BACKGROUND

Spanberger has long been focused on addressing the security challenges at America’s southern border and combating the root causes of illegal migration. Last Congress, then-President Donald Trump signed into law Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation — led alongside former U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX-23) — to crack down on Central American trafficking and smuggling networks, as well as strengthen U.S. border security.

Last month, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation to combat fentanyl trafficking along America’s southern border. This legislation is based on provisions in her bipartisan Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act, which she also introduced last month.

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