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Trump’s hatred towards immigrants has been clear since before he got elected, with his campaign rallies filled with calls for a wall to be built at the border between Mexico and the United States. This has not changed. Recently, Trump announced that he was cutting aid to three Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. His rationale for the decision was that he was upset over the still “increasing” flow of migrants to the U.S. border. However, this reasoning is far from rational.
The aid program for this region, often referred to as the Northern Triangle, was intended to address the root causes of immigration—violence, unemployment, and poverty. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are some of the poorest and most violent countries in the hemisphere. Migrants from these countries are often children and families that are seeking asylum from these horrible conditions. By cutting these funds, Trump could actually be eliminating some of the very programs that are preventing migration to the U.S., directly contradicting his supposed goal.
Trump constantly claims that these countries, as well as Mexico, are doing little to discourage migration. He recently tweeted that he would close the southern border unless Mexico used its strong immigration laws to stop the thousands of people trying to get into the U.S. He also constantly claims that the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border is increasing. However, the amount of border apprehensions has actually declined in the past few years, which can be associated with a decrease in the number of migrants crossing.
While there is a growing number of undocumented immigrants, contrary to Trump’s claims, most of these people are those who entered the country legally and have just overstayed the time limit on their visas. This group makes up about 44% of the people living in the U.S. illegally. Trump is trying to solve a problem he does not understand with a solution that will just put migrants in even more danger and make their conditions worse. This will only increase the number of people trying to leave.
In addition, Trump’s increased security around the border will not stop them. If someone is leaving their homeland, it is for a good reason. If they want to protect their families and gain a better life, there is not much that can hinder them. His policies will just lead to migrants being forced to endure extremely hazardous situations, such as trekking through deserts in the scorching heat. Trump’s actions to deter migration will have the opposite effect than what he intends. Illegal immigrants are still people and our country, or more specifically our president, needs to recognize this.