AG Barr promises continued support to Northern Triangle

May 16, 2019
FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Attorney General William Barr appears at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that funding under his authority for policing in Central America’s Northern Triangle is not at risk under the Trump administration’s promise to cut off those countries not doing enough to control migration.

Barr spoke after meeting in San Salvador with his counterparts from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Barr said he met with President Donald Trump before the trip. “He supported my coming down here, making clear that we remain committed to this effort and we remain committed to the funding that has been supporting these law enforcement efforts,” the attorney general said.

Barr said he and his counterparts discussed expanding efforts against the region’s violent gangs such as MS-13, as well as increasing the attention to corruption, financial crimes and human trafficking.

Unlike Trump, who has been critical of Central American governments, Barr said he was so impressed with their cooperation against transnational criminal organizations that he decided to make the region his first foreign visit.

Barr highlighted a U.S.-supported program called Regional Shield that he said had hit gangs hard by prosecuting some 7,000 alleged gang members in the three countries.

He said he planned to return to Washington to share with the White House his observations about the positive cooperation in the region.

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