Washington, DC—Yesterday, Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Albio Sires (D-NJ) led a group of 101 Members of Congress in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the Trump administration to reverse its decision to cut humanitarian and development aid to Central America. Suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance to the region would seriously damage both U.S. and regional interests, the letter asserts.
“Progress made on reducing violence and poverty will be reversed, more children and families from the Northern Triangle will be forced to flee their communities, and the situation at our border will get worse, not better,” the letter states.
President Trump announced on March 29 that he planned to cut nearly $1 billion in funding to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, even as increased numbers of children and families are being forced to flee violence, poverty, and endemic corruption in the region. The decision to suspend aid as a result of what President Trump described as Central American governments “doing nothing” on migration is particularly counter-productive, given that much of the U.S. aid is delivered to non-governmental organizations working to address the conditions driving people to migrate.
“Millions of dollars in aid provided to communities through non-governmental organizations is now in jeopardy,” the letter states. “Multiple programs that are demonstrating results—reducing violence at the local level, helping young people find jobs, and reducing the rates of malnutrition in rural areas—will be forced to close their doors.”
The letter also points out that in addition to undermining “longstanding bipartisan policy goals” in the region, this suspension of aid also represents “a willful disregard for congressional intent,” as it is Congress, not the executive branch, that has the authority to appropriate foreign funding.