Central America's Northern Triangle: Challenges for U.S. Policymakers in 2021 [Updated March 12, 2021] [open pdf - 685KB]
From the Document: "Instability in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (the Northern Triangle of Central America) is among the most pressing challenges for U.S. policymakers in the Western Hemisphere. The United States historically has played a prominent role in the political and economic development of the region, which has long struggled with widespread insecurity, fragile democratic institutions, and high levels of poverty and inequality. Already difficult living conditions have deteriorated over the past year due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and two hurricanes. [...] Approximately 2.9 million [hyperlink] Hondurans, 1 million [hyperlink] Salvadorans, and 3.7 million [hyperlink] Guatemalans are contending with crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. Although the pandemic and government lockdowns initially disrupted criminal activities, reports suggest [hyperlink] domestic violence increased and gangs and illicit trafficking groups quickly adapted to the changed circumstances. Some government officials have sought to take advantage of the disorder, allegedly engaging in corruption [hyperlink], repressing dissent [hyperlink], and undermining the rule of law [hyperlink] to advance their personal and political interests. These interrelated socioeconomic, security, and political challenges could have far-reaching implications for the United States. Although the Biden Administration has urged potential irregular migrants not to make the 'dangerous journey [hyperlink],' U.S. authorities have encountered growing numbers [hyperlink] of Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans at the Southwest border. Many analysts expect these mixed migration flows of asylum-seekers and economic migrants to swell over the course of 2021, especially once governments ease COVID-19-related border restrictions."
CRS Insight, IN11603
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/