Taking drastic action over illegal immigration, President Trump moved Saturday to cut direct aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, whose citizens are fleeing north and overwhelming US resources at the southern border. The State Department notified Congress that it would look to suspend 2017 and 2018 payments to the trio of nations, which have been home to some of the migrant caravans that have marched through Mexico to the US border, reports the AP. The Washington Post explains the move, which it calls "one of Trump's harshest yet" in relation to the border, would impact monies that had been earmarked for the Central American countries but not spend: millions left over from the 2017 fiscal year and almost $500 million from fiscal year 2018.
NBC News quotes a State Department rep as saying "we will be engaging Congress as part of this process," which suggests Congress may need to approve any end to the funding. Trump also has returned to a previous threat he never carried out—closing the border with Mexico. He brought up that possibility on Friday and revisited it in tweets Saturday, blaming Democrats and Mexico for problems at the border and beyond. Among his tweets: "Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border!" The US and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.
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