ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Adriano Espaillat are back in the United States after visiting congressional delegations to Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
In a virtual press conference with journalists on Monday, Senator Kaine and Congressman Espaillat emphasized the importance of strengthening relations between Latin American countries and the US.
The congressional delegation’s trip comes a year after the formation of the Alliance for Development in Democracy. During a week-long visit to Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Senator Kaine and Congressman Espaillat discussed economic growth and democracy with Latin American leaders.
“It reinforces the notion that when we have countries that do the right thing, and they stand together for democracy, and they ask in a real and reasonable way for us to be more present and more helpful, we have to do it,” said Senator Kaine.
The Alliance for Development in Democracy is focused on addressing economic growth and addressing crime rates across the country.
“There is serious concern about the level of violence, intergang violence that exists today and the role that elites, the private sector and politicians also play regarding gangs,” said Representative Espaillat.
Members of Parliament also spoke about the ongoing drug trade.
“Better scanning at ports of entry in the United States and on the Mexican side of the border is something we must do to deal with drug trafficking,” said Senator Kaine.
Migration is an issue facing three Latin American countries after President Biden’s announcement to turn away Venezuelans who walked and swam to the US border.
“There is a proper way to go in and get humanitarian parole and work authorization, but if you come in the other way, you will be turned back,” Senator Kaine said. “It has significantly reduced not only Venezuelans showing up at the border between the US and Mexico, but it has reduced the flow of Venezuelans north through Panama. The news spread quickly and had a significant impact.”
The Biden administration has announced that they will accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans with humanitarian authorization. Any Venezuelan who illegally entered Mexico or Panama will not be allowed to come to the United States.
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