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Will Biden's Infrastructure Plan Benefit Latinos?

The Biden infrastructure plan contemplates a historic investment in areas such as construction, transportation modernization, and the adoption of clean energy.

Joe biden

On November 5, the United States House of Representatives approved, in part (1.2 trillion), the infrastructure plan, which has given a long breath to the American economy. Photo: TW-joebiden

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Angel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: ¿El plan de infraestructura de Biden beneficiará a los latinos?

Joe Biden, still as a presidential candidate, presented a proposal to make two large investments for $ 3 trillion in total, the equivalent of the GDP of Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Colombia combined, to get a perspective on the size of the investment. On November 5, the United States House of Representatives approved, in part (1.2 trillion), the infrastructure plan, which has given a long breath to the American economy.

Invest to boost America's competitiveness

President Biden's plan is focused on infrastructure as the engine of economic reactivation and has several main axes: climate change, the middle class, unions, job creation, investment in marginalized areas of the country, modernization, and expansion. of the rail and highway systems, as well as the automotive industry that must migrate towards more environmentally friendly technologies, according to the White House. Biden makes a clear comparison with his predecessor, Donald Trump, who left the role of the United States in limbo on such relevant issues as pollution, global warming, and renewable energy. Biden's ambitious proposal seeks that investments reach all parts of the country and serve as a starting point to regain competitiveness, especially in the face of the advancement of such relevant players as China and the European Union.

With the approval of both chambers (the Senate approved it last August), a positive message was sent for the economic recovery, even in the midst of the pandemic, which has been reflected in the good response of the markets and stock exchanges. Latinas. The negative for Latin America is that, although he speaks of the workers and the American middle class, Biden did not refer to migrants as part of his proposal in an explicit way.

You can also read: Why Is the Rise In Oil Prices Not Benefiting Latin America?

Latin America at a distance

One of the strengths of President Biden's infrastructure program is the creation of 1.5 million jobs annually, thanks to the strengthening of American companies. One of Trump's rules imposed in the T-MEC was the Regional Content Value, which establishes the minimum percentage of parts of the region that a car must have, in a similar fact Biden's plan considers incentivizing the US economy using national materials for infrastructure projects, a position that is dedicated to China and its investments, but at the same time significantly affects Latin America as a supplier.

At the time of the announcement of the infrastructure plan, few Latin American companies obtained profits on the stock market, one of the most benefited was the Mexican Cemex, the main cement producer in the world and which has a presence in the United States. The company's shares rose more than 8% on the Mexican Stock Exchange, according to analyst Marisol Huerta. For the Mexican company, it represents a business opportunity, however, for the rest of the region, the outlook is not encouraging, if Biden's intention to use US materials is fulfilled (to the extent possible), the opportunities for Latin America will be sharply reduced.

Migration in limbo

The reason that migrants are not directly included in the infrastructure plans is that migration caused division in the votes to approve the program. The division was not only at the bipartisan level, but also within both parties there were clashes. Originally a path to citizenship was envisaged for more than 11 million migrants in the country, however, Republicans and even Democrats viewed the idea with suspicion. It is possible that everything will remain in temporary permits with legal protection against deportation, an intermediate step but advance at the end, this would allow these illegal migrants to have access to the jobs generated by Biden's infrastructure plan throughout the territory national.

Surely the fear of the Republicans is that giving citizenship to almost 11 million migrants (which includes Dreamers ) could encourage illegal migration to the country, especially at times like the current one, where there are caravans from Central America to the Mexican border with the United States, in addition to settlements of Haitians and other nationalities.

Finally, for Latin American countries there could still be the hope of investment if the so-called Build Back Better program is approved in the short term, an even broader program with more resources than the infrastructure one with almost 2 trillion dollars, although it still does not have a final figure. This program has a social character and extensively considers investing to combat climate change, children, and even a budget for immigration. In addition, it connects with another US initiative Build Back Better World, created within the G7 and whose objective is to invest more than 40 billion dollars by 2035 as a goal for infrastructure, environmental protection, and in political terms to combat the influence of China. , especially in Latin America, one of the regions where the presence of the Asian country has grown exponentially.