By Isabelle Anderson
Elm Staff Writer
The countries known as the “Northern Triangle,” El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will stop receiving aid from the United States.
The process began on March 29 due to an influx of migrants at the southern U.S. border. This action follows President Trump’s previous threats of pulling aid from those countries dating back to December, saying that they were not “able to do the job,” in preventing illegal immigration to the U.S.
Additionally, surrounding the topic of immigration, Trump warned about potentially closing the U.S.-Mexico border if the Mexican government did not do more to prevent the attempts of migrants to enter the country.
President Trump’s statements on the topic included, “I’m not playing games,” and “We were giving them $500 million. We were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us.”
Responding to the appearance of the migrant caravans, Trump perceived them as having been “set up” by the Northern Triangle.
The president’s actions come from a notion of broken agreements between the countries and the U.S. as well as a concern for its strategic interests.
Ending foreign assistance will involve Congress. Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, stated that the Northern Triangle countries agreed to “combat human smuggling and trafficking, crack down on transnational criminals fueling the crisis, and strengthen border security to prevent irregular migration.”
Nielsen spoke Wednesday of signing a regional agreement with the Northern Triangle countries, with the goal of preventing large migrations and enforcing U.S. border security.
Despite the President’s efforts to prevent more migrants, the removal of U.S. foreign aid, which Trump described as “not charity,” will likely result in an increase of migrants to the country who depend on the aid provided by the United States. Migrants of the named countries face violence and poverty in their home countries, a condition that will not improve when they’re given even less help.
The notion that the U.S. should be uncharitable, a sentiment burrowed at the heart of Trump’s statement, brings the values of the country as a whole into question.
Are we a nation without empathy? Refusing to continue aid to countries affected by civil wars and years of resulting violence due to a lack of immediate progress on the part of these countries seems to be a demonstration of unrealistic expectations on the part of the United States.
President Trump’s actions have come under scrutiny by critics such as Senator Bob Menendez, who said, “if carried out, President Trump’s irresponsible decision to cut off our assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would undermine American interests and put our national security at risk.”
A large part of President Trump’s action stems from considering what the U.S. gains from having financial agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, if not enhanced border security. While this point acknowledges a limit of resources on behalf of the U.S., and concern about the large number of migrants, discontinuing aid to these impoverished countries is certainly a counter-intuitive method for attempting to lead the U.S. out of the migrant problem.