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US ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants

US ending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants

Charities that receive funding from the USA government to promote economic and social development in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras say aid cuts not only will do little good but will make matters worse.

The "mother of all caravans" expected to depart from Central America has begun by looking more like the baby of all caravans, after a group of about 40 migrants left last Saturday for the United States (US) from the capital of El Salvador.

President Trump's call to cut aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras is raising concerns among lawmakers, national security and development experts who say cutting aid will exacerbate the migrant crisis that is already crippling USA resources at the southern border.

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

The State Department has announced it is cutting aid to three Central American Countries.

The department said it would "engage Congress in the process", an apparent acknowledgement that it will need lawmakers' approval to end funding that a Congressional aide estimated would total about $700 million.

US foreign aid to Central America dropped to $527.6 million this year from $655 million in 2017, according to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a think-tank.

"Nobody knows what this is", he said, adding that by midday on Monday, no instructions had been sent to USA aid missions in the region on how to implement the decision. "By withholding aid, the US will incentivize the governments of the Northern Triangle to take better care of their communities and citizens", Burgess said. The decision did take many people on Capitol Hill by surprise, including the Department of Homeland Security.

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

Mr. 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. And we are not paying them anymore.

Critics argued the administration's planned Central America aid cutoff would be tantamount to cutting off its nose to spite its face.

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". Families that claim asylum are often released into the United States because of limits on how long children can be held in detention, allowing them to stay for years while their cases move through a backlogged immigration court system even though many claims are ultimately denied.

Trump said last week that "we were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we're not paying them anymore because they haven't done a thing for us", and mentioned a figure of $500 million.

The administration is hoping policies of deterrence will reduce the number of people who turn themselves in to USA border agents, overwhelming the capacity of processing centers along the southern border.

"The people say it's working, but the proof is in the numbers".

"All these situations, like politically, we (the United States) are responsible for the situation as a country what is happening in Honduras".


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