President Donald Trump had harsh words for Honduras’s government Monday morning as word spread that a second “migrant caravan” departed from the central American nation, headed for the United States’ southern border: if Honduras doesn’t stem the “refugee” outflow, they may lose American aid.
The President tweeted Monday that he’d spoken to the leaders of several central American nations, including Honduras, where the current “migrant caravans” originate, and informed them that the United States could reconsider international financial aid programs aimed at Central America if the outflow does not abate.
Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” he tweeted.
That’s no small loss. Honduras receives more than $74 million in American aid per year, according to the USAID, as does El Salvador. Guatemala receives between $80 and $140 million per year, depending on the U.S.’s financial commitment. The U.S. government’s own foreign assistance website makes clear that the pledged aid, particularly to Honduras, is designed to help combat “alarming levels of crime and violence,” and treat “high levels of poverty and food insecurity and ineffective governance and corruption.”
Trump announced last week that he would speak to Honduras’ head of state about the migrant caravan and suggested that he may revoke aid if Honduras refused to recall the migrant caravan. Monday’s tweet confirmed that the president followed through on his threat.
The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
The migrant caravan could number as many as 20,000 by the time it reaches the United States’s southern border. Mexico has done little to stop the caravan, and U.S. authorities do not anticipate Mexican law enforcement will do much to either protect or dissuade the marchers.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning Monday as well, voicing the Trump administration’s concerns that Mexican drug cartels may be using the caravan as cover.
This is not the first caravan to threaten the southern border. Several others have marched through Mexico with the intention of overwhelming American border patrol, and most have dissipated either upon or shortly before arrival. A caravan, destined for the border just a few months ago, disbanded just miles from the US border.
The current migrant caravan has tested the limits of American patience. More political than the others, members of the caravan have been voicing their open hostility to American immigration policies, even as they look to emigrate.