by WorldTribune Staff, October 17, 2018
As a caravan of some 2,000 Hondurans headed north through Guatemala, President Donald Trump said he is considering withholding funds from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador if the caravan reaches the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!” Trump tweeted on Oct. 16.
“Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!” Trump added in another post.
The U.S. in Fiscal Year 2017 gave around $248 million in aid to Guatemala $175 million to Honduras, and $115 million to El Salvador.
NBC News reported that the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has asked its citizens to stop participating in the caravans, saying their lives are at risk.
Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez said in a public address on Oct. 16 that some Hondurans in the caravan had already returned home and the government was preparing to support them. He did not specify how many had turned back.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he spoke to Hernandez and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and warned them to help protect U.S. borders, adding “no more aid if it’s not stopped.”
Adult citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua need only present national identity cards to cross each others’ borders. That rule does not apply when they reach Mexico.