First, he was going to close the U.S. border with Mexico. Now we’ve learned Donald Trump has cut off hundreds of millions in aid to the so-called “Northern Triangle” countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
But it appears Trump doesn’t really get how the aid is distributed. “I’m not playing games,” Trump said on Friday. “I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras and El Salvador. No money goes there anymore,”
But the money is not sent directly to governments. From The Washington Post:
“Jim Nealon, a former U.S. ambassador to Honduras, said that Trump didn’t seem to understand the way the Central American aid program worked. The U.S. government doesn’t give the money to foreign governments, but rather “to programs designed and implemented by the U.S., with the cooperation of governments and civil society,” he said. Much of them are administered by nonprofit groups. “
The aim is to keep citizens in their respective countries, but if aid is cut it only gives them more incentive to flee to the U.S. From The Post:
“Ironically, our goals of having people stay and thrive in El Salvador are very similar to the current administration’s,” said Ken Baker, chief executive of Glasswing International , which runs education, health and entrepreneurship programs in El Salvador and receives USAID funding. “Through our programs we’ve been able to provide opportunities and the belief that they [would-be migrants] can thrive here.”
“The key is to get to them before” they leave for the United States. When you’re talking about the problem at the border in the U.S., it’s already too late.” – Ken Baker
The New York Times reports Mr. Trump’s decision to cut off aid will “likely…anger members of Congress from both parties, who have supported spending money to try to address the root causes of the violence that has caused migrants to flee those countries to come to the United States.
“Currently, the United States spends about $620 million a year for gang prevention programs and other initiatives aimed at helping support civil society in the three countries. Advocates say that cutting the funds will only accelerate the migrant flows into the United States.”