WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of US President Donald Trump cut hundreds of millions of dollars in development aid for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on Monday after Trump blew up the three countries because thousands of their citizens were at the US border Asylum had applied for Mexico.
Central American migrants head for a highway on June 5, 2019, on their trip to the United States in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas State, Mexico. REUTERS / Jose Torres
The plan is likely to meet with fierce opposition in Congress.
Legislators, including some Trump Republicans and Democrats, have resisted the President's repeated decisions to ignore the spending laws passed by Congress, some of which he himself signed.
Legislators opposing the plan said it was cruel to stop providing aid to countries that were struggling with hunger and crime, and that it would be counterproductive to increase rather than decrease the number of migrants would.
"As feared, a rage from the president will limit our country's ability to actually address the challenges that force people to flee to the US," said Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on Twitter.
Trump has made reducing illegal immigration one of his key political commitments both during his presidential campaign and during his two-and-a-half years in the White House. Congressional assistants said the government had told them that they would reassign $ 370 million in aid to Central America approved by lawmakers for the 2018 fiscal year and suspend another $ 180 million that Congress would pay for 2017 financial year.
All monies for these years has not yet been spent.
The government said in March that it would curtail aid to the three countries after Trump expressed its misfortune over its immigration policy.
According to Morgan Ortagus, US State Department spokesman, no funds will be made available until the government is satisfied that countries reduce the number of migrants reaching the US border.
"This is in line with the President's instructions and the recognition that it is crucial that there is sufficient political will in these countries to tackle the problem at its source," she said. Without further elaboration, she added, "In cooperation with Congress, we will re-program these funds to other priorities, if necessary."
A US official with knowledge of the plans said the administration would finance until April 2020 check.  Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney