The U.S. State Department on Wednesday added dozens of current and former officials, lawmakers, judges and business people from Central America to a list that names those the U.S. government considers "corrupt and undemocratic" actors in the region, APA reports citing Reuters.
The so-called Engel List, created under a law sponsored by then-U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, includes individuals from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua that Washington accuses of wrongdoing.
Among the 60 people named were Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele's press secretary and his legal adviser, two Guatemalan Supreme Court justices, a vice president of the Honduran congress and a number of former government ministers from across the region.
U.S. officials see tackling corruption in Central America as one of the keys to addressing the root causes of record illegal migration at the U.S.-Mexican border, which poses a political and humanitarian problem for President Joe Biden.
"These individuals, through their significant corruption, efforts to obstruct investigations into corruption, and undermining of democratic processes and institutions, weaken the ability of governments in the region to respond to the needs of their citizens, contributing to irregular migration and destabilizing societies," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Those named in the list, which the State Department is required by law to release annually, will have any U.S. visas revoked and will be unable to enter the United States.