President Donald Trump has ordered suspension of financial aids to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, accusing the governments there of doing nothing to stop their citizens from moving toward the United States.
American border security forces, according to the president, have been overwhelmed by the illegal immigrants flocking the country’s border with Mexico.
“I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras and El Salvador,” Trump told reporters on Friday.
“No money goes there anymore… We were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us.”
But the move is less likely to be approved by the US Congress, according to news reports.
Over the past one year, about US$1.3 billion was allocated to the region, with a bulk of it going to those three countries, according to government data.
People from the Northern Triangle, as the three Central American countries are known collectively, make up a majority of immigrants trying to enter the US through the Mexican border. Around 100,000 people are likely to cross the border into Mexico this month alone, reported CNN citing Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff.
Some analysts blame the exodus on drug-related violence, while others blame it on financial and food insecurity.
America has long been providing these countries with financial aid in return for their help with US border security and efforts to combat organized crime.
Guatemala is experiencing a sharp decrease in homicide rates, but Honduras and El Salvador are still grappling with gang violence.