The Latest: Analyst says aid cut for CentAm could backfire
HUIXTLA, Mexico (AP) — The latest on the caravan of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States (all times local):
An analyst with Moody’s Analytics says that if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through on cutting or reducing aid to Central America, it could backfire by worsening poverty and violence that are root causes of migration.
Alfredo Coutino writes in a report Tuesday that slashing funding for employment, health care, education and security “will have an important consequence on vulnerable people.”
Coutino says any increase in insecurity and reduction in well-being would provide “additional incentive” for people to leave, “potentially aggravating the migration of Central Americans” northward.
The analyst’s conclusion: “President Trump might get the opposite result of what he thought would be by punishing the Central American governments.”
Trump tweeted Monday: “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to” Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
It is Congress, not the president, that appropriates aid money. The White House would have to notify Congress if it wanted to cut or reallocate aid, which could delay or complicate the process.
The government of Mexico says refugee applications have continued to rise from Honduran migrants who were part of a caravan heading through the country.
The Interior and Foreign Relations Departments report in a statement that immigration authorities have now received 1,699 applications. Those people are no longer with the caravan and are being sheltered in the city of Tapachula, in the southernmost state of Chiapas.
The other migrants have pushed on as a group to the town of Huixtla but are still at least 1,000 miles from their goal, the United States. The statement estimated their numbers at about 4,500; the United Nations has said they were some 7,000.
The government also says that 495 Hondurans have voluntarily decided to return to their home country with assistance from Mexico.
A mobile medical clinic truck has pulled into the main square of the southern Mexican town of Huixtla to treat Central American migrants in a caravan trying to reach the United States.
Portable toilets have been set up in one corner of the plaza. The caravan is so large — estimated at over 7,000 — that a few hundred of the migrants camped out on a basketball court outside of town. There are no bathrooms there, and little donated food.
The caravan is resting today out of respect for a Honduran migrant who fell from a vehicle yesterday and died.
It’s also a chance to rest weary and blistered feet after days of marching.
Huixtla municipal worker Daniel Lopez says the town is offering some food and water as well as basic painkillers and rehydration liquids.
But he says some children are running high temperatures.
Migrants are also taking it upon themselves to pick up after themselves.
Selvin Antonio Guzman from Santa Barbara, Honduras, was using two pieces of cardboard Tuesday morning to scoop trash from a garden bed where many had spent the night.
He said “it’s important to keep it clean here.”
The group is still over 1,000 miles from the nearest U.S. border crossing.