The Prime Minister has made it clear that it was not just a idle threat. The United States will block all federal assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for their inability to deal with migrants' flow. The move comes one day after President Donald Trump owed the countries to be behind migrant caravans making their way to the United States. "We gave them $ 500 million. We paid them huge amounts of money and we no longer pay them because they haven't done anything for us," Trump said Friday. Trump also warned that he was ready to close the southern border if Mexico didn't do more to push immigrants back.
On Saturday, the State Department confirmed that the threat of aid became a reality. "We are conducting the president's direction and ending [fiscal year] 2017 and [fiscal year] 2018 Northern Triangle Assistance Programs," a prime minister said in a statement. "We will be engaging in Congress as part of this process." The northern triangle refers to the three northern Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The three countries were set to receive around $ 500 million in aid in the 2018 financial year, plus millions more from last year, according to the Washington Post.
The move was met with immediate criticism as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top democracy of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called it a "ruthless announcement" and called on his colleagues on both sides of his time to reject the initiative. "US foreign aid is not charity; it promotes our strategic interests and finances initiatives that protect US citizens," says Menendez in a statement.
Trump's repeated threats of pushing aid to the Central American nations initiated a rift in the government, many pushing back by saying the funds are helping to slow down migration. But Trump and his closest allies say governments need to do more to slow down the flow of people towards the US. The support for support for the three Central American countries also comes a few days after Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security, signed it, which marked her as an unprecedented deal with the northern triangle countries to prevent migration and US border security assistance.
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