Senator Kaine returns from congressional delegation visit in Latin America

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - US Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY 13) are back in the United States after a congressional delegation visit to Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

In a virtual press conference with reporters Monday, Kaine and Espaillat emphasized the importance of strengthening the relationship between Latin American countries and the U.S.

The congressional delegation trip came one year after the formation of the Alliance for Development in Democracy. During the week-long visit in Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Kaine and Espaillat discussed economic growth and democracy with Latin American leaders.

“It reinforced the notion that when we have nations that are doing the right thing, and they’re standing up together for democracy, and they’re asking in tangible and reasonable ways for us to be more present and more helpful, we should do it,” Senator Kaine said.

The Alliance for Development in Democracy is focused on addressing economic growth and addressing the level of crime throughout the countries.

“There’s grave concern about the level of violence, the intergang violence that is existing right now and the role that the elite, the private sector and the politicians are also playing with regards to gangs,” Espaillat said.

The legislators also addressed the ongoing drug trafficking.

“Better scanning at ports of entry on both the U.S. and the Mexico side of the border is something that we need to do to deal with the illicit drug trade,” Senator Kaine said.

Migration is one issue all three Latin American countries are facing after President Biden’s announcement to turn away any Venezuelan who walks or swims to the U.S. border.

“There’s a right way to come in and get humanitarian parole and work authorization, but if you come in any other way, you’re going to be turned back,” Senator Kaine said. “That has already significantly reduced not just Venezuelan’s showing up at the border between the U.S. and Mexico, but it’s reducing the flow of Venezuelans north through Panama. That news got around fast and it is having significant impact.”

The Biden Administration announced it will accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans with humanitarian authorization. Any Venezuelan who illegally enters Mexico or Panama will not be allowed to come into the United States.