President Barack Obama will meet next week with the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the White House announced Friday.
The four leaders and Vice President Joe Biden will gather at the White House to discuss the ongoing border crisis, wherein more than 52,000 undocumented Central American immigrants, mostly unaccompanied minors or women with young children, have crossed into the United States since October. Many are fleeing violence and instability in Central America, which has been riven by gang violence and hosts some of the world’s highest murder rates.
The meeting with presidents Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras, and Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador, will include a discussion of how the United States and the Central American governments are cooperating to contain the crisis, the White House said.
Vice President Biden will also meet separately with the three presidents at a lunch he will host prior to the meeting with President Obama. That lunch meeting is expected to build on conversations the vice president had previously with the Central American leaders on June 20 in Guatemala City.
President Obama has asked Congress for nearly four billion dollars in emergency appropriations to cope with the surge of undocumented kids at the border – money that would go toward mounting operational costs and to speed up deportation proceedings. But House Speaker John Boehner has said it is unlikely Congress will agree on a measure to solve the ongoing humanitarian crisis before legislators leave for a month-long break in August, when funds allocated for the care of the migrant children will become depleted.
“I don’t have as much optimism as I’d like to have,” he said Thursday.