President Trump and the US to cut aid to Central America over Immigration
It was announced in this past week that President Trump and the US have decided to cut hundreds of millions of aid to three Central American countries, in a move taken supposedly in retaliation on those governments failing to curb migration into the United States. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are the three countries that are set to lose out on the aid. The move has been met with a huge outcry from opposition to the US administration.
For many years, the US has been trying to alleviate the flow of migrants from Central America to the border. However, the move to cut hundreds of millions of aid to the three aforementioned countries is seen as illogical by many and has been seen as an act of spite, rather than solid policy or common sense.
President Trump said at the announcement of the move: “We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us”.
The move is expected to mean that El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are about to lose around $500 million in aid collectively. The three countries are part of the so-called Northern Triangle and they form a sizeable amount of Central American migration and asylum cases at the US border. Doris Meissner, who was the commissioner of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service between 1993 to 2000 has said that: “The Northern Triangle is among the most violent places on Earth, this is a big issue. It is a big challenge. And it needs a set of solutions. Ensuring safety and better living conditions in these countries is an essential element.”
El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world driven by street gangs like MS-13. Additionally, Guatemala faces food shortages, kidnappings and extortion cases as those fleeing try to move northwards towards the United States. Two children from Guatemala died in December 2018 after being apprehended by US border officials following their journey. Honduras has more than half of its population living below the poverty line.
A better approach than to cut aid can be found in working with the governments and people of these three countries, to build a long term plan to not just benefit the United States but also those living in dire poverty and violent areas.
The US administration will receive a lot of opposition and backlash for this move and rightly so. Many observers and experts dealing with migration crisis’ have pointed out that cutting aid and resources to deal with it as a form of punishment will not help the situation. In fact, this could set progress back, not only on the United States but also for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in the fight to improve living conditions and opportunities for their citizens.
Such a rash approach by President Trump and his administration could end up exacerbating what he calls a major security crisis.