The US Citizenship Act of 2021: The $4 billion question – Helping Central America: The benefit goes both ways

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President Biden is working with Congress to pass a bill called “The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.” There are many great things in the bill that would help the southern border crisis because there are several much-needed reforms. However, there has been controversy in passing the bill because of a plan to give Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador $4 billion in a four-year-inter-agency plan. Many opponents claim that it would be a waste of money, and it is not the duty of the United States to help other countries. I would argue that such a plan is needed and the benefits go both ways. 

First of all, one must acknowledge the purpose of such a plan: to solve the root causes of migration. While immigration in the U.S. helps the economy, it would be ignorant to claim that undocumented immigrants do not overburden the system. President Trump tried to approach this problem by making it harder to cross the southern border. The problem with such an approach is that there will still be people at the border trying to get across and this results in a border crisis. This different approach attempts to solve the causes of migration in an ethical way. 

There are plenty of reasons why people migrate. But, in Central American countries, the reason is mostly for safety. The situation in those countries, especially those this bill addresses, does not give their citizens the safety and prosperity they seek. Therefore, they migrate to the U.S. in hopes of a better life. Again, this poses a problem because too many immigrants could have negative effects on the economy. 

Therefore, investing in those countries is a reasonable solution because it would result in those countries being able to give their citizens the safety they desire and there would be a decline in the need to migrate. Both sides would benefit from this. 

Now, people argue several things against such a proposal. One of those arguments is that it is not the responsibility of the U.S. to help other countries. The government’s priority should be Americans first. I am not against governments prioritizing their citizens, but one must keep in mind that the problem of Central American countries will eventually become an American problem when people try to cross the border. 

Another argument is that it is a waste of money that the government does not have. While I do agree that the government should keep a balanced budget, the $4 billion should be seen as an investment that will pay off in the future as less money would be spent in border security and in helping refugees. For these reasons, I think the $4 billion plan in the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 will be helpful for both sides of the deal.

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