U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has urged Central American leaders to be patient with the new Obama administration as it crafts a comprehensive immigration policy.
Biden, who met with the leaders Monday in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, is the first high-ranking administration official to travel to the region since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January.
The regional leaders are calling on Mr. Obama to slow the pace of deportations of undocumented workers in the United States. But Biden said the current economic crisis will delay an "immediate response" to the issue.
The vice president said the problem can only be solved in the context of an overall immigration reform.
Biden announced the U.S. will increase funding for Central America's anti-drug efforts through the Merida Initiative, from $65 million to $100 million.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.