United States plans end to aid for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras over migrants

A U.S. Border Patrol agent pats down Honduran migrants after they crossed onto U.S territory from Tijuana Mexico Nov. 30 2018. Thousands of migrants who traveled via a caravan want to seek asylum in the U.S

Asked if the department knew what programs would be cut, a second congressional aide who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "If they do, they haven't told us yet".

The United States is suspending aids to three Central American countries, as President Donald Trump is complaining at their failure to stop illegal migration up north to his country.

Nearly immediately, the State Department announced that it would put an end to foreign assistance programs in the region contemplated in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

This time, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other U.S. officials say border patrol officers have been overwhelmed by a sharp increase asylum seekers, many of them children and families who arrive in groups, fleeing violence and economic hardship in the Northern Triangle.

Experts fear that cutting aid programmes will exacerbate problems in the three countries and force more people to migrate.

Current Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen last week signed a regional border security compact with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to curb the illegal migrant surge and interdict the flow of drugs into the U.S. The spokesperson said "we will be engaging Congress as part of this process", which could mean it needs Congressional approval to end funding, according to NBC News.

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"We will see how much progress we are able to make in the ensuing days, in terms of getting more enforcement with Central and South America, so that we are not getting swamped by meritless asylum claims predominantly from Central America", Miller told top administration immigration surrogates on a conference call, according to the notes.

"U.S. foreign assistance is not charity; it advances our strategic interests and funds initiatives that protect American citizens", Menendez said in a statement.

The president also has returned to a previous threat he never carried out - closing the border with Mexico. Officials at the State Department and the US Agency for International Development were ordered to "redirect" assistance "away from these countries" and "cease and desist" all current spending.

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the United States would be cutting funding for the countries, blaming them for migrant caravans that have come to the southern border recently and saying the cuts were because "they haven't done a thing for us". Speaking like the political gangster he is, the United States president declared, "We were giving them $500 million". Fox and Friends Weekend displayed across its chyron, "TRUMP CUTS AID TO 3 MEXICAN COUNTRIES".

Specifically, Miller wants Mexico to deport undocumented migrants from Central America who are passing through the country on the way to the US. "This latest reported move shows the Administration still does not understand that the United States cuts foreign aid to Central America at our own peril", Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement on Sunday. "Why are these historic numbers - again, 100,000 people will cross the border this month alone", Mulvaney said.

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