Trump vows to cut Central America aid over migrant caravan in Mexico

WASHINGTON/TAPACHULA, Mexico — U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to begin curtailing tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to three Central American nations and called a caravan of migrants bound for the United States a national emergency as he sought to boost his party’s chances in Nov. 6 congressional elections.

“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,” Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts.

Reuters news agency reported Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to elevate the caravan, currently in southern Mexico inching toward the distant U.S. border, and immigration as campaign issues ahead of the midterm elections, in which his party is fighting to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

“Remember the Midterms!” Trump wrote in Twitter posts decrying the caravan and attacking Democrats on immigration, as Republicans sought to energize their conservative political base.

U.S. administrations long have seen aid programs as an essential part of efforts to stabilize the countries of Central America and stem the flow of migrants leaving.

Trump, who has taken a hard line toward illegal immigration since taking office last year, wrote that he had alerted the U.S. military and Border Patrol “that this is a National Emergency,” but did not say what actions he was planning. He also complained that Mexico’s police and military “are unable to stop” the caravan.

The caravan was moving north again on Monday as migrants poured out of the southern Mexican city of Tapachula near the Guatemalan border, bound for Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas state. Some shielded themselves from the midday sun with umbrellas, others with bits of cardboard on which they had slept the previous night. As they left the city and crossed a highway, Mexican drivers honked their horns in solidarity.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq estimated that the caravan includes more than 7,000 people, “many of whom intend to continue the march north” toward the United States.

Text: Reuters news agency

Photo: AFP news agency

 

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