Jun 17, 2019 - Politics & Policy

U.S. to permanently end foreign aid for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus speaks during a media briefing

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Image

The State Department announced Monday afternoon that it is cutting off any further aid to Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador until the countries take "concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the U.S. border."

Why it matters: The purpose of the U.S. foreign assistance targeted by Trump is to address the "root causes" of migration through governance reforms, security assistance and economic development, according to Axios Expert Voices contributor Erol Yayboke. Cutting off that aid could exacerbate conditions in the Northern Triangle and lead to even more migration.

The big picture: This move has been in the works since March, with President Trump ramping up pressure on the three Central American nations to slow the surge of migrants. The State Department will work with Congress to reprogram the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid it provides to Central America elsewhere, according to spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

  • Roughly $400 million worth of aid already approved for projects in 2017 and 2018 in those countries will continue, per the AP.
  • Reuters notes that the plan is likely to face opposition from lawmakers in Congress who view it as cruel and likely to increase the flow of migrants from Central America.
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