10 Facts about the Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act
The North Triangle of Central America (NTCA) is made up of three nations: Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Though rich in culture and wildlife, the three countries this region houses are considered incredibly dangerous. Honduras, in 2011, was named the “murder capital of the world”. Every year, the number of asylum seekers fleeing from the NTCA increases as violence, poverty and drug trafficking in the region worsen.

In May 2019, a bill titled the Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (NTEEA) was introduced in the US House of Representatives. This bill, in a nutshell, aims to address the aforementioned causes of migration from the NCTA. There are two goals to this bill. First, to promote regional stability in the NCTA. Second, to increase border security in the US. Currently, the bill has passed through a committee that aims to issue a report to the House for further consideration. Here are 10 facts about the NTEEA.

10 Facts about the Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act

  1. The Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act was introduced by two Representatives from different states: Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, and Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas. Engel serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs while McCaul is the Committee’s Ranking Member. In addition, NTEEA is co-sponsored by Representatives Albio Sires, Francis Rooney, Norma Torres, Ann Wagner and Henry Cuellar 
  2. NTEEA calls for $577 million in foreign aid to Central America, beginning in the 2020 Fiscal Year: This assistance will go toward understanding and addressing the causes of migration from the NCTA. In 2019, the number of asylum seekers fleeing from Central America is expected to reach more than 539,000. A number of factors contribute to this number, though gang and gender-based violence remain at the top of the list.
  3. A major aspect of NTEEA relies on collecting data from this region: By collecting data the NTEEA aims to enhance national security and understand the severity of the issues plaguing the NCTA. Potentiostat data includes all criminal activity in the region, with an emphasis on two criminal organizations in particular: MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang.
  4. Additionally, information regarding criminal activity reported to authorities will be collected to address the issue of unresolved or ignored crime in this region: The NTCA, due to high poverty rates and weak government institutions, is known for its 95% impunity rate. Citizens of the NTCA find law enforcement in this region untrustworthy and incapable of appropriate prosecution.
  5. Internal displacement of citizens is a massive problem within this region: The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) believes that more than 430,000 citizens from the NCTA were internally displaced within their countries by the end of 2017. To understand and combat this issue, services like temporary shelters will be given to those displaced, alongside the collection of data and information regarding displacement.
  6. Gender-based violence and violence against children are two issues that NTEEA aims to reform: In the NTCA, gendered sexual and domestic violence remains a leading factor forcing females to seek asylum. To begin to solve this layered and complicated issue, NTEEA will collect data regarding gender-based violence by region and study its correlation to internal displacement
  7. This bill will increase engagement with the Mexican government in hopes of supporting the citizens of the NTCA: Because Mexico shares a border with Guatemala and Belize. This that means the US will be required to develop an improved partnership with its southern neighbor to achieve success. 
  8. This bill aims to address the issue of poverty that contributes to both the violence and the ensuing migration of its citizens: To do this, NTEEA will provide access to clean water used for drinking and hygienic purposes, shelter for those displaced, and immediate health resources.
  9. Progress in curbing migration from the NTCA will be annually benchmarked to monitor improvements within this region: Updates will begin one year after the bill is signed and every three years after that.
  10. For those displaced, NTEEA will include tools for increased returns to country-of-origin: Eligible repatriated persons will be supported by the private sector in an effort to be trained and hired for acceptable jobs within the NTCA.                                                 

The 10 facts about the Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act demonstrate the strong need for foreign assistance in the Northern Triangle region of Central America. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, all homes to rampant violence and harrowing poverty, are expected to majorly benefit from the NTEEA.

Anna Giffels
Photo: Flickr