The United States is cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, known collectively as the “Northern Triangle,” the State Department said on Saturday, a day after President Donald Trump blasted the Central American countries for sending migrants to the United States.
“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 said in a statement. The department declined to provide further details.
The State Department said it would “engage Congress in the process,” an apparent acknowledgement that it will need lawmakers’ approval to end the funding. U.S. House Appropriations Committee aide estimated that around $700 million of aid was affected.
The Washington Post reports:
The move was one of Trump’s harshest yet as he escalates a confrontation with Mexico and Central America over a surge in irregular migration, largely involving children and families seeking asylum.
Trump has already warned that he could close the U.S.-Mexico border — or at least large stretches of it — in the coming week unless Mexico takes further steps to halt the northward flow of migrants.
One former U.S. official said there was “chaos” in the State Department and U.S. embassies as officials tried to figure out whether they had to cancel existing contracts or simply not renew them. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.
This is a very cynical and cruel political move by trump to drive more migration from Central American countries to the US Border so that he can pretend there is a real crisis. One he is literally manufacturing through this cut in aid. https://t.co/z5pKKbuvT0
— Nick Greif (@NickGreif) March 30, 2019
The Trump administration intends to end foreign aid for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a move that Democrats called “reckless” and “counterproductive” in addressing the problems that cause people to flee to the U.S. https://t.co/nmFBxTfAWY
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 31, 2019
The only crisis at the border is a humanitarian one and now Trump wants to make it worse by cutting off the aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that addresses the violence and poverty driving thousands to our borders. https://t.co/24XsZGEAFc
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) March 30, 2019