- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are urging the Trump administration to reevaluate the president’s threat to cut about $1 billion of approved aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras over what Mr. Trump calls their failure to curb illegal immigration to the U.S.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, and Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the panel’s ranking Republican, said that cutting the assistance “would be counterproductive and lead to increased migration flows to the U.S.”

Earlier this month before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Pompeo defended President Trump’s vow to slash about $1 billion of approved aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, saying their efforts to curb illegal migration to the U.S. have been inadequate.

“It’s a fact of this crisis at the southern border that [the aid] has not been effective,” Mr. Pompeo said at the time. “… We are endeavoring to change that. We are dealing in reality.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Engel and Mr. McCaul argued the cuts would “exacerbate” problems such as gang violence and migration, and could reverse the gains from assistance the U.S. has provided over the last three years.

“Eliminating our assistance during this critical transition will raise doubts over the reliability of the U.S. as a consistent partner in the region and create a void that China and other adversaries will look to fill,” the members wrote.

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