Congress Awards Nearly $1 Billion in Aid to Mexico, Central America

Aid will promote cross cultural understanding, other issues

AP

A massive yearly spending bill set for passage in Congress would provide nearly one billion in financial aid to Mexico and Central America for efforts to promote cross cultural understanding and justice in society, among other issues.

The funding initiatives have been included in a sprawling funding bill known as the omnibus, which is expected approved by Congress.

Critics of the legislation say that it does little to rein in what they describe as an out of control immigration system.

Nearly one billion taxpayer dollars will go to fund a series of initiatives in Mexico and Central America, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas), who fought for the money along with Rep. Kay Granger (R., Texas).

Around $265 million will go to "a microenterprise and microfinance program to promote economic development in Mexico and Central America," according to Cuellar’s office.

Another $39 million to Mexico under the Economic Support Fund designed to promote a civil and just society.

Money in the bill also will go towards the "establishment of a working group between the United States and Mexico to help facilitate and ease commerce across the border," Cuellar’s office announced.

Additional funds will expand a U.S.-Mexico academic exchange program and help foster "cultural exchange" programs with Mexico, as well as Central and South America.

Money appropriated in the bill also will fund a study on "what standards or protocols are needed for passenger and freight high-speed rail between the United States and Mexico to increase tourism and commerce."

Meanwhile, the spending bill would strip protections for American workers while increasing the number of visas for low-wage foreign workers.