On June 3, 2021, President Joseph Biden declared the fight against corruption to be a core national security interest, noting that “[c]orruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable access to services; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism and migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracies worldwide. When leaders steal from their nations’ citizens or oligarchs flout the rule of law, economic growth slows, inequality widens and trust in government plummets.” Among other things, the anti-corruption national security strategy sought to bolster the ability to identify and punish transnational criminals and their enablers, who all too often are corrupt government officials.

Days later, on June 7, 2021, Attorney General Garland announced the DOJ’s “Initiatives to Combat Human Smuggling and Trafficking and to Fight Corruption in Central America” and the creation of “Joint Task Force Alpha” “to enhance U.S. enforcement efforts against the most prolific and dangerous human smuggling and trafficking groups operating in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.” Joint Task Force Alpha further complemented the DOJ’s efforts to fight corruption by “increas[ing] its focus on investigations, prosecutions and asset recoveries relating to corruption in Northern Triangle countries.”

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