Central America Should Do More on Immigration

The Vice President of the US, Mike Pence, has told the leaders of three countries in Central America that the US will give greater aid to boost their nations’ economies if they make more effort to combat illegal immigration.

A large number of the illegal border crossings in recent times have come from the trio of nations which make up the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras), including the majority of unaccompanied immigrant minors and families apprehended and taken into custody on the US border. Pence told the leaders that they and their governments should stress the risk taken by families when undertaking the dangerous trip to try to get into the US.

Pence made his comments while addressing the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, and Oscar Ortiz, the Vice President of El Salvador, on Thursday as he performed the opening of a yearly conference in Washington DC. Pence’s comments received a mixed reaction from the attendees, with Hernandez making it clear that he would need more certainty on what could be expected in aid from the US, as the funds requested under President Donald Trump have been less than those allocated in the past.

In 2017, the Trump administration offered an assistance package of $460 million, which was a 30% reduction than the package approved by former President Barack Obama the previous year.