Trump Cutting $700 Million in Aid to Central America

Minnie Murray
April 3, 2019

"I've ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador", Trump told reporters Friday.

"If Mexico doesn't immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug (sic) our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week", he tweeted.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that, at the president's direction, the State Department was ending its foreign assistance programs for the three Central American countries for 2017 and 2018.

The "Northern Triangle" includes El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where tens of thousands of migrants have fled poverty and violence in recent years to try to enter the United States.

Migrants walk up a riverbank at the Mexico-US border after getting past a line of Mexican police at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana.

The State Department said it would "engage Congress in the process", an apparent acknowledgement that it will need lawmakers' approval to end the funding.

The president called on Congress to immediately change what he said were weak USA immigration laws, which he blamed on Democrats.

Anita Isaacs and Anne Preston of Haverford College wrote in The New York Times that "Trump is half right" because "paltry" USA aid isn't doing much good, although they do credit a violence-prevention program in El Salvador with reducing homicide and possibly migration to the a result.

The money that Trump has threatened to cut is part of an initiative started under former President Barack Obama that sends aid to Central America for development and security initiatives.

"If what the United States wants to do is prevent irregular child migration in a way that works and is cost-effective, it should not do what it has traditionally done - spend 10 times as much on border enforcement trying to keep child migrants out as it spends on security assistance to the region", he said. We were giving them tremendous aid.

Trump's decision to cut aid is a full reversal of this policy, and Congressional Democrats were swift to condemn the decision. Sen.

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would be cutting funding for the countries, blaming them for migrant caravans that have come to the southern border recently and saying the cuts were because "they haven't done a thing for us". "No money goes there anymore".

Critics noted that a border closure would also be counterproductive, as closing points of entry would have a negative impact on trade and commercial ties between Mexico and the US.

According to the US Global Leadership Coalition, comprising retired diplomats, military leaders and members of Congress, aid programs in the three countries are working to address the "root causes of violence" in order to "promote opportunity and security for their citizens". "This latest reported move shows the Administration still does not understand that the United States cuts foreign aid to Central America at our own peril", Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement on Sunday.

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