Trump halts Central American aid

State Department Says U.S. Cutting Off Aid to El Salvador Guatemala and Honduras	 	 	 			President Donald Trump

Charities that receive funding from the US 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.

Government officials, aid workers and activists in Central America are mystified by U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to cut off almost $500 million in aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in response to what he calls an immigration crisis.

He left open the distinct possibility that President Donald Trump would close the US border with Mexico in the coming days, even as he says he intends to cut off about $500 million in USA aid to the three Northern Triangle countries.

But critics have said people are fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because conditions there are really bad, and cutting aid could worsen the situation and lead to a further surge in the numbers headed for the US.

Central American migrants moving in a caravan towards the United States, descend from a truck to be taken to a shelter, in the outskirts of Zapotlanejo, Jalisco state, Mexico on November 11, 2018.

Migrants walk up a riverbank at the Mexico-US border after getting past a line of Mexican police at the Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana.

"We will be engaging Congress as part of this process", said a State Department spokesperson.

Trump said on Twitter Saturday, "It would be so easy to fix our weak and very stupid Democrat inspired immigration laws".

Galvez believes one way the USA could cut down on illegal immigration from central America is through a combination of continued aid and economic investment in the region.

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McCaul's position was shared by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, who conceded "funding alone will not solve the problem" but anxious a unilateral halt to Northern Triangle aid would cripple some programs that have been effective at reducing migration. "It would be better if I stay in the US, where I have family members".

The exact amount the State Department may cut from the three central American countries under scrutiny is not clear. More than 76,000 migrants were taken into USA custody in February, according to officials.

The Trump administration is intensifying measures to curb the flow of Central American asylum seekers crossing into the United States from Mexico, officials said on Monday, including sending more people back to Mexico to wait for their asylum claims to be heard by US courts. Congress may seek to stop the aid being redirected elsewhere.

The government of El Salvador has said it has tried to stem the flow of migrants.

All of this is worrisome enough, but a Fox News segment on Sunday got us worrying even more: There seem to be some people who are totally unaware that these countries are in fact countries.

Mulvaney, echoing the President's sentiments, said that "Honduras could do more". The funding does not go to the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala or Nicaragua.

Some Democrats from the House of Representatives were visiting El Salvador when they learned about the U.S. president's decision to cut assistance.

"Congress, not the executive branch, is responsible for deciding how and where we spend our foreign assistance dollars. We sold what little we had in our country and hit the road", immigrant Irsi Castillo, a young mother from Honduras, told National Public Radio.

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