Few issues have been as controversial and consistently covered by US news media in the last year than immigration. This week, US President Donald Trump suggested yet again his interest in reviewing our financial relationship with the countries of the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – in light of developing reports of a new US-bound migrant caravan.
Though these threats are nothing new from the US President, the clear contrast with Vice President Mike Pence’s position on Central America is something to take note of.
Trump, struggling to get a request through the U.S. Congress for money to build a southern border wall, expressed frustration about governments in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador not helping the United States on the migrant problem.
“Honduras is doing nothing for us. Guatemala is doing nothing for us. El Salvador is doing nothing for us. And we pay them hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but we’re going to be stopping pretty soon. In fact, we’re looking at it right now,” he said.
The Trump administration’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2019 included $45.7 million for El Salvador, $69.4 million for Guatemala and $65.8 million for Honduras, according to the Congressional Research Service. The amounts all represented a double-digit reduction from the previous year’s funding.
Trump said he believed the three countries could “very easily” stop immigrant caravans from forming.
“I actually think they encourage the caravans because they want to get rid of the people from the country, and certain people,” Trump told reporters during a meeting on immigration with members of his administration and high-profile Republicans.