US cuts aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
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US cuts aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

The decision comes one day after President Donald Trump said the three countries had "set up" migrant caravans for entry into the US. "We were paying them tremendous amounts of money. And we're not paying them anymore. Because they haven't done a thing for us. They set up these caravans," Trump said Friday. A State Department spokesperson said Saturday, "At the Secretary's instruction, we are carrying out the President's direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle." "We will be engaging Congress as part of this process," the spokesperson added in what seems to be an acknowledgement that Trump needs lawmakers’ approval before he can implement his plan to end funding that a Congressional aide estimated would total about $700 million. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Trump’s order as a “reckless announcement,” calling on Democrats and Republicans alike to reject it. The number of asylum seekers wanting to enter the US from the three countries has dramatically increased in recent days. Trump also said Friday that there was a “very good likelihood” he would shutter the US-Mexico border this week if Mexico City did not stop immigrants from reaching the United States. The US president has long promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to physically stop the inflow of migrants but has failed to fulfill that pledge so far. He had initially promised that Mexico would pay for his wall. When he failed to secure funding from Mexico, Trump turned to US Congress, which also refused to provide the funds. To bypass Congress, the US president last month declared a “national emergency” to corral funds allocated to other US organizations and funnel them to his wall project.

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