President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant obsession has become so out of control that not only is he threatening to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border, he also plans to cut off aid to Central America’s Northern Triangle countries, which will have the opposite effect that he claims.
Trump on Friday chastised Mexico for not doing enough to curb undocumented migration to the U.S. and threatened to close the border next week. If he follows through, it would affect a staggering $1.7 billion in the daily trade of goods and threaten 5 million U.S. jobs, according to the Associated Press, citing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Friday, he tweeted this:
He repeated the threat on Saturday:
“Mexico doesn’t respond to threats,” Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard responded.
Also on Friday, Trump made another asinine promise to cut off some $500 million in aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras that is earmarked for programs to create jobs, reduce poverty, and fight gangs in those countries. Programs to fight poverty and strengthen public institutions in Central America’s Northern Triangle countries are crucial to reducing the flow of migrants from those countries, according to practically everyone who works in aid and diplomacy in that region.
Speaking to reporters in Florida, Trump, surrounded by GOP politicians Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis, said, “I’m not playing games. Mexico has to stop it.”
He added: “I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador. No money goes there anymore…We stopped payment…We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us.”
He also claimed those countries had “set up” migrant caravans and “put their worst people in the caravan” to “get rid of their problems.”
Here’s a clip, although you have to skip through the various GOP officials shamelessly praising Trump and start at 6:49:
According to Univision News, Trump wasn’t supposed to have revealed the information about stopping the payments until April 1, when the directive was supposed to officially begin, according to the State Department, but he jumped the gun.
Trump also appears to have no idea what’s going on in his own administration, as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen just met with leaders from the three Central American countries on Wednesday in Honduras to reach a deal on increased security cooperation and plans to reduce the number of migrant caravans originating from the region.
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release highlighting “the signing of a historic Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on border security cooperation in Central America.”
“I look forward to implementing this historic agreement and working with my Northern Triangle counterparts to help secure all of our nations and to end the humanitarian and security crisis we face,” Nielsen said, according to the statement. “Together we will prevail.”
We will prevail together, but also, fuck you, apparently, because Trump’s wearing his big, dumb, red USA hat.
It’s likely that the president can’t even unilaterally cut off the funding, which already has been appropriated and earmarked by Congress. And thank god for that, because the effects would be disastrous.
“Everything we were doing to reduce gang presence, provide education and workforce development, improve services; and everything we were doing with the private sector to employ people (reduce migration) is literally going down the crapper,” one senior project manager in Guatemala told Univision. “Cutting funding will actually increase migration, crime, gangs, corruption. Don’t expect less caravans. And certainly don’t expect less cocaine on U.S. soil as result of this policy,” the expert added.