The Trump Administration directed the State Department to end aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, a region known as the Northern Triangle. Trump tweeted blame at Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries for “doing nothing” to stop migrants on their way to the US, and threatened a southern border closure. Experts have warned that there will be economic consequences – in addition to increasing the severity of the humanitarian crisis – if ports of entry are shut down.
What does this decision mean for our partners? Douglas Chica, EcoViva Policy and Program Manager, shared that local and national programs will be affected. Some national programs that could be impacted include a violence prevention program, a public spaces revitalization program, a National Civil Police program that aims to strengthen national security, and youth development programs that provide alternatives to gang involvement. Locally, the environmental projects of the Mangrove Association are at risk, including a capacity-building project that trains communities to mitigate the impacts of environmental disasters.
Withholding aid will not help the crisis that is driving migrants from these countries, and it will roll back several measures of progress, including youth programs and environmental protections that were hard fought by the people of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Experts in international aid believe it is very unlikely that migration will decrease due to these changes, and will undoubtedly make the situation worse.
The migrants, many of them climate refugees from Central America, are still being forced to wait in Mexico. Migrants are going through a new process, known as metering, which places undue bureaucratic burdens on people with legitimate claims, making it virtually impossible for them to access asylum. For many of the families waiting to declare asylum, going back is not an option. These policy threats do nothing to alleviate the root causes of migration, and instead function to intimidate migrants from exerting their right to claim asylum at our borders. These actions serve to perpetuate a politically-motivated, fabricated “security crisis” and we are strongly opposed to them.
Positive change comes from sustained investments in capacity building, education, and food security. Be a part of the solution: Become a ChangeMaker or make a one-time gift to support social and environmental justice work in Central America. Donate today.