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Trump cuts aid to Central American countries to stop immigration to the US

Monday, April 1st 2019 - 08:55 UTC
Full article 8 comments
US officials say the immigration system at the border with Mexico is already at breaking point US officials say the immigration system at the border with Mexico is already at breaking point
President Trump has also said he is likely to close the border if Mexico does not do more to stop migrants crossing. President Trump has also said he is likely to close the border if Mexico does not do more to stop migrants crossing.

United States opposition politicians and aid agencies have questioned a decision by President Donald Trump to cut off aid to three Central American states. Mr. Trump ordered the suspension of aid payments to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to push their governments to stop migration into the US.

Critics say the decision will hurt programs that already aim to persuade people to stay at home. Congress may seek to stop the aid being redirected elsewhere.

US officials say the immigration system at the border with Mexico is already at breaking point yet the administration wants to increase the number of asylum seekers sent back over the border fivefold - from 60 a day to 300.

There has been a huge increase in asylum seekers fleeing violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The three nations are where most of the migrants on the US southern border come from.

President Trump has also said he is likely to close the border if Mexico does not do more to stop migrants crossing.

“We are carrying out the President's direction and ending FY [fiscal year] 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a state department spokesperson was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency, declining to give further details.

According to the Washington Post, at stake is nearly US$ 550 million in 2018 funds plus millions more left over from the previous fiscal year. A Reuters source put the overall figure at about US$ 700m.

In 2017, Guatemala received over US$ 248m while Honduras received US$ 175m and El Salvador U$ 115m.

“I've ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras and El Salvador,” Mr Trump told reporters on Friday. “No money goes there anymore... We were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we're not paying them anymore because they haven't done a thing for us.”

Aid advocates argue that the best way to stem migration from the region is to stimulate economic development and reduce violence there, and that it is too early to judge the impact of the aid, which was boosted in 2016 under President Barack Obama.

Cutting off aid is “shooting yourself in the foot”, Adriana Beltrán, director of citizen security at the Washington Office on Latin America human rights research group, was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

“There are long-term challenges that are going to need a long-term sustainable solution,” she added. You can have a discussion as to how we can ensure that the aid is effective, that assistance is not going to supporting corrupt governments.“

A group of House Democrats visiting El Salvador condemned Mr Trump's move in a joint statement, saying that Mr Trump's approach was ”entirely counterproductive“.

Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned the ”reckless announcement“.

The state department said it would ”engage Congress in the process“, suggesting that lawmakers would need to approve the cuts. However, according to congressional staffers quoted by the Washington Post, the US president has ”some wiggle room to reprogram funds”.

Adam Isaacson, a senior official at the Washington Office on Latin America, said presidents had previously shied away from reprogramming money because it irritated lawmakers who could retaliate by declining to fund key administration projects.

Top Comments

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  • imoyaro

    Film at 11: Demon Tree, AKA Jack the Ripper II, slashes female passengers on a tram and slips away into the night. Very British, I'd say. As for Don the Con, well, what's your point?

    Apr 04th, 2019 - 09:12 am 0
  • imoyaro

    Fact is the moment I came in here 5 years, Gauchito Drink started the insults. I tried talking history and culture, but the reality is a number of people who used to be here but were driven out by the K shills made the place interesting, but they were forced to leave, like Elaine, Isolde, and Captain Poppy, all with real experience in Argentina. Indeed Gauchito Drink doxed a couple of people. When the despicable Kamerad/Komrade Rique showed up he teamed up with Drink and kept demanding people tell him their real names. As for being fanciful, hardly. Just check my last post on the thread you accused me of wanting to kill children. Kamerad/ Komrade Rique is and always will be beneath contempt. I remember when he tried to give you an understanding of his political “history.” He stated that he was a Peronist until Peron turned on the left wing of the party. Try looking up who that left wing was and what it did, not that it would matter for an individual like you. People who destabilized a democratic government that was democratically elected in the belief that all such governments were a mask for fascism, so they attacked it until the army intervened, which was their goal, as it would bring their “reality” into the open . Kamerad/Komrade Rique naturally beat feet, as they say. Nothing fanciful about his crowing about the Peronist Pope's “Social Justice” right after the “pope” had been requested to remove diplomatic immunity to a paedophile working at the embassy in DC and spirited him away to the Vatican. Indeed I suspect you would sympathize with such a move. I don't care what you think of me. When you arrived it was obvious you too were trying to get personal information, and I will never answer questions you have about Paraguay, as that is a place dear to me for many reasons, and answering you would be giving your K shills information. Go ahead, carry on. But I will never see you as anything but another K shill. By all means up the ante Ripper boy...

    Apr 06th, 2019 - 09:27 am 0
  • DemonTree

    “Just check my last post on the thread you accused me of wanting to kill children.”

    So the Pope protected some child molester - which you specifically point out wasn't reported here - and EM praised him for some other things around the same time... and you conclude the one must have been due to the other? Maybe, y'know, he just hadn't heard about it?

    I only know what Wikipedia says about Peronism - that Hector Campora was a left-wing Peronist and gave up his Presidency to Peron, there was a fight between the two wings of the party, including a massacre at Ezeiza, and Peron chose the right wing. Who exactly are you saying destabilised which government?

    You act like a troll, Imoyaro, so I treated you like one. Seems it really bothered you. If you'd rather talk about history and culture (see above), then I'll be happy to do it. If you prefer to continue with your decidedly off-the-mark insults, that's your choice.

    Apr 06th, 2019 - 10:53 am 0
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