US cutting off humanitarian aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador
The move comes just days after President Donald Trump warned of a new migrant caravan heading toward the southern US borderEuropost
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has followed President Donald Trump's direction and ordered the State Department to halt country's humanitarian funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The decision comes a day after Trump indicated on Friday he would be cutting aid to the countries as punishment for their inability to stem the flow of migrants heading to the southern US border.
The countries affected make up the so-called "Northern Triangle" and account for the majority of Central American migrants who are crossing the US-Mexico border.
"At the Secretary's instruction, we are carrying out the President's direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle. We will be engaging Congress as part of this process," a spokesperson for the State Department said in a statement, meanwhile.
According to American newswires the Department has started informing Congress of the move shortly after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent a letter to Congress Friday saying that the influx of migrants - particularly families - is at a breaking point.
"DHS facilities are overflowing, agents and officers are stretched too thin, and the magnitude of arriving and detained aliens has increased the risk of life-threatening incidents," Nielsen wrote, citing increased numbers of migrants arriving each month in large groups. She said the agency faces a "system-wide meltdown."
"I've ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador. No money goes there anymore." Trump tweeted than and issued warnings that he planned to close the US-Mexico border next week, as well if Mexico did not do more to stop the caravans of migrants.
"There’s a very good likelihood that I’ll be closing the border next week," Trump told reporters gathered at his Florida resort. "I will close the border if Mexico doesn’t get with it."
Historically, the United States has viewed foreign aid programs to Central American countries as a vital component of stabilizing the countries, potentially halting the flow of immigrants seeking to migrate to the United States. Under Trump, aid to the countries had already plummeted. According to Reuters' data Washington provided in 2016 about $131m in aid to Guatemala, $98m to Honduras, and $68m to El Salvador. The following year the funding fell to about $69m for Guatemala, $66m for Honduras and $46m for El Salvador.
This is also not the first time Trump is threatened to cut off humanitarian aid to the Northern Triangle, including before the 2018 midterm elections when he held a slew of rallies and warned of an "invasion" of migrants from the countries. He even recently declared a national emergency at the border to secure funding for a proposed wall, despite Congressional opposition.