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Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration froze some foreign aid intended to ease the impact of climate change in Guatemala despite evidence from one of its own agencies that it is a factor driving record Central American migration, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The White House has instead focused on stemming the flow of migrants by agreeing to use law enforcement measures, centered on sending U.S. officials, vehicles and equipment to Guatemala to stop immigrants from other countries from passing through on their way to the U.S.

  • That agreement, which was finalized in July, does not mention the effects of climate change on migration.

The backdrop: NBC obtained a report created by U.S. Customs and Border Protection — given to senior Department of Homeland Security officials — that showed immigration spiked from areas of Guatemala that don't have reliable subsistence farming or wages from commercial farming jobs.

  • Scientists have listed climate change as a catalyst driving food insecurity.
  • Months after the report was finalized, the Trump administration froze $170 million in foreign aid to Central American nations in a funding review for the 2017 fiscal year. Part of that money was used to mitigate the effects of climate change on small farms.
  • More than $400 million in aid that had been set for the 2018 fiscal year will also be repurposed elsewhere.

The state of play: The funding freeze vexed advocates — both inside and outside the Trump administration — who supported solutions to "push factors" that drive migrants to leave their homes.

  • A DHS official told NBC that high turnover at the agency made officials nervous about losing their jobs.
  • "Everyone knows [White House adviser Stephen] Miller isn't interested in hearing about climate change," the official said.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Stef Knight: Migration crises are never random. Parents don’t get up and take their children on perilous, expensive journeys for no reason, but the Trump administration’s messaging has consistently focused on potential draws of the U.S.’s outdated immigration system rather than what is driving Central Americans to leave in the first place.

  • The bottom line: This messaging fits better with Trump’s tough stance on immigration.

Go deeper: Why the migrant crisis is happening now

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Hours-long reading of 628-page COVID relief bill delays Senate debate

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) forced Senate clerks to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, which took nearly 11 hours and lasted until 2:04 a.m. on Friday. The Senate is set to return at 9 a.m. to debate the bill before considering amendments, which could drag into the weekend.

3 hours ago - Health

Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.