President Donald Trump's decision to cut $450 million in foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — the three countries in the “Northern Triangle” of Central America that are the origin point for many migrants crossing the southern border — will end dozens of projects designed to bolster security, the economy, education and judicial systems.
Maryknoll missioners who have lived and worked with communities in these countries say the cuts could worsen the crises of violence, impunity, and poverty that are the root causes of migration there.
“The desperation exists, and the immigration will persist,” said Brother Marty Shea, recently returned from the Petén region of Guatemala where he regularly encountered desperate migrants from Honduras and El Salvador traveling through Guatemala into Mexico and where he was aghast at the recent rise in the murder of women and girls region wide.
On April 4, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined over 40 U.S.-based faith, human rights, foreign policy, humanitarian, immigrant rights and border-based civil society organizations in a statement to express deep concern over the Trump Administration’s latest actions regarding Central America, including the wholesale cutoff of assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
"The administration’s proposal to cut off programming that specifically addresses the root causes of migration—much of which is implemented via international organizations, humanitarian aid organizations, local governments, and civil society organizations—is counterproductive and misguided. It does not reflect the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the ground and will further increase forced migration," the statement reads. It goes on to describe some of the important programs that would be defunded: violence prevention and response, poverty alleviation, and programs to address corruption, strengthen human rights, and promote the rule of law.
Click HERE to send a message to President Trump to urge him to reconsider his proposal to cut anti-corruption, anti-poverty, and anti-violence assistance to Central America. Assistance is a crucial part of U.S. diplomacy and an important piece for addressing the root causes of forced migration and displacement.
Image: 2018/11/23 Ten days old Asylum Seekers arrives in Tijuana, Mexico by Flickr/Daniel Arauz.