Despite Trump, U.S. Continues Foreign Aid to Central American Countries

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Luis Miguel
Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Is the Trump administration backpedaling on its vows to toughen border enforcement, or gearing up to deliver on its promises?

The White House stated on Monday that it is restoring a portion of foreign aid to the Central American Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras after funds were cut in March to compel those nations to reduce their levels of illegal migration to the United States.

According to the Trump State Department, the administration will go ahead in delivering to the Latin American countries $432 million of $615 million in assistance that President Trump ordered cut. The difference will be held in escrow pending consultations with Congress.

The State Department maintained that the $432 million, which comes from the 2017 budget and is designated for grants and projects related to education, health, poverty, and anti-crime efforts, will only be delivered because a significant number of the projects are too far advanced to end.

Meanwhile, department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus explained, $370 from the 2018 budget will be diverted from the Northern Triangle and spent on other projects.

“Previously awarded grants and contracts will continue with current funding,” Ortagus said, but added that funds “to help the Northern Triangle governments take actions that will protect the U.S. border and counter transnational organized crime will also continue.”

Ortagus assured reporters that the United States “will not provide new funds for programs in those countries until we are satisfied that the Northern Triangle governments are taking concrete actions to reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.S. border.”

“This is consistent with the president’s direction and with the recognition that it is critical that there be sufficient political will in these countries to address the problem at its source,” she said.

President Trump had signaled his willingness to cut foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras prior to making the decision official in March.

In October of last year, he tweeted:

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