Caravan of 40 Salvadoran migrants sets out for United States border

Trump threatens to shut Mexico border

Mr. Cardin said Mr. Trump's decision to cut aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where a majority of migrants fleeing gang violence and weak economies come from, was "counterproductive". He said Mexico needs to solidify its southern border with Guatemala to prevent the caravans from heading north through Mexico to the USA and that the three Central American counties need to curb migrants from leaving their countries.

The United States is cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, known collectively as the "Northern Triangle", the State Department said on Saturday, a day after President Donald Trump blasted the Central American countries for sending migrants to the United States.

Experts fear that cutting aid programmes will exacerbate problems in the three countries and force more people to migrate.

President Trump blames their governments for looking the other way as "caravans" of migrants head through Mexico to reach the United States.

Trump repeated his threat on Friday to close the border between the USA and Mexico, and said he would act this week if Mexico didn't step up. The migrants have cannily exploited US political arguments by bringing children with them, making detention and deportation much more problematic.

The money that Trump has threatened to cut is part of an initiative started under former President Barack Obama that sends aid to Central America for development and security initiatives. Congress has not approved most of those proposed cuts, however, and a report this year by the Congressional Research Service said any change in that funding would depend on what Congress does.

"And if we're going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars, we would like them to do more", Mulvaney told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union".

The State Department did not say how much unspent money was involved in the step, which could be largely symbolic. "We were paying them tremendous amounts of money, and we're not paying them anymore because they haven't done a thing".

The U.S. and Mexico trade about $1.7 billion in goods daily, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be "an unmitigated economic debacle" that would threaten 5 million American jobs.

The abrupt end of the debate was said by the Washington Post to "take many people by surprise", even though President Trump has publicly discussed the idea of ending the program.

Congressional action would be needed to cut off aid to the three countries.

Trump argues the governments in the Northern Triangle aren't doing enough to stop migration to the U.S. Schrayer said she agrees with the president in that "yes, those country's leadership need to be accountable to their citizens, and should do more". "The only way that we can maybe help this situation is promoting democracy, promoting respect to the human rights, respect the elections, and again, supporting an economic process in the region".

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