- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2009

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (AP) - Central American leaders meeting in Costa Rica with Vice President Joe Biden are pushing for the United States to ease up on its record pace of deportations.

Biden’s visit is the first to Central America by a top-level U.S. official since President Barack Obama took office in January. His trip aims to strengthen ties with a region that has long felt ignored by Washington.

Biden made no comments Monday as he arrived to the Presidential Palace for the meeting.

Central American leaders agreed last week to urge the United States to slow its deportations. A record 80,000 Central Americans were deported from the United States in 2008.

Biden arrived here Sunday after spending three days in Chile.

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