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article imageDonald Trump cuts off aid to three Central American states

By Karen Graham     Jun 18, 2019 in Politics
The Trump administration on Monday cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have not been too pleased with President Donald Trump's repeated decisions to disregard spending bills passed by Congress, some of which he has signed into law himself, and they won't be pleased with this latest move.
The State Department confirmed the move to redirect the $550 million in aid lawmakers had earmarked in the 2017 and 2018 budgets. Just three months ago, Trump threatened to cut aid to the three Northern Triangle countries. “We stopped payment to Honduras, to Guatemala, and to El Salvador,” Trump said in March. “We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us," reports the Financial Times.
Lawmakers opposing the plan say that withholding aid to these countries is cruel because the citizens are already grappling with hunger and crime. Most lawmakers believe Trump's move is counterproductive because it will just increase the number of people trying to get into the U.S.
Congressional aides say that the administration is reallocating the $370 million in aid to Central America that lawmakers had approved for fiscal year 2018, and suspending an additional $180 million Congress had approved for fiscal year 2017. As it is, all of the money for those years has not been spent yet.
Central American migrants use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Tecun Uman...
Central American migrants use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Tecun Uman, in Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico -- the US is trying to stem the flow of migrants towards the US border
QUETZALLI BLANCO, AFP
"Previously awarded grants and contracts will continue with current funding," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. She added that assistance "to help the Northern Triangle governments take actions that will protect the US border and counter transnational organized crime will also continue."
“This is consistent with the president’s direction and with the recognition that it is critical that there be sufficient political will in these countries to address the problem at its source,” she said.
Before the announcement of the funding cut, a senior Mexican government official had said Mexico had made it clear to Trump that cutting aid to the three countries would be counterproductive, according to the Financial Times.
“We understand the frustration, but it will not help,” said the official, who added that Mexico did not want to publicly criticize Mr. Trump since it would make matters worse. “We don’t want to confront the administration. It will not be helpful. But we understand that cutting off aid is counter-intuitive.”
More about Trump, central american aid, Northern Triangle region, Migration, cuts in aid
 
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