Time and time again the nation has seen what has become a mantra: What Obama has done Trump will undo.
His drumbeat to nullify every vestige of the Obama years can be heard again as Trump plans to strip the security measures that President Obama pledged for the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In 2015, with thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children at the border, Obama promised nearly $800 million to the governments from which most of the children had come.
That pledge, mainly to improve conditions in the Central American countries—and where U.S. involvement was largely responsible for the crisis—has been only partially successful, and now it’s completely in jeopardy when and if Trump’s plan goes into effect.
“We’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us,” Trump said. Like so many of his decisions, this one caught his own agencies by surprise, particularly the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. According to James Nealon, once the Ambassador to Honduras under Obama and later employed at the DHS under Trump, the worse is yet to come. “If he [Trump] hates irregular migration now, he’s going to hate it a lot more once he cuts off aid, cuts the rug out from under friendly and cooperative governments, creates uncertainty and instability—and people really begin to move,” Nealon told a reporter.
Along with the threat to end support to the three countries, Trump said there was a “very good likelihood” of closing the border with Mexico if their neighbor did nothing to stop the caravans of immigrants heading to the border. One constant tweet from him is that the governments are responsible for sending the immigrants to the border.
This action has upset several Democratic candidates, including Beto O’Rourke who at a rally denounced Trump’s policies, citing them as the politics of “fear and division.”
If Trump’s rash action goes as planned it will totally destroy the aid programs in the so-called Northern Triangle.
The State Department, now charged to conduct the policy, will need the approval of Congress to end the funding, and this is sure to test Trump’s executive privilege again.