The United States has pledged nearly $11 billion in aid for Central America and southern Mexico, specifically with an eye toward enticing residents to remain in their home countries. The aid packages – $5.8 billion for economic development and strengthening government in Central America ancend an additional $4.8 billion for development aid to Mexico – are an attempt to improve security and job opportunities in those regions.
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard celebrated the announcement as “very good news for Mexico.”
BREAKING: The Trump administration has pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and an additional $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 18, 2018
“I have a dream that I want to see become a reality … that nobody will want to go work in the United States anymore,” proclaimed new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
What About the Dreams of Americans?
The plan is all well and good, but if the U.S. has $11 billion to throw around, why not use $5 billion of it to build a wall that the American people have demanded since President Trump came on the scene, then maybe use the extra $6 billion to aid these regions in an attempt to keep migrants from heading to the border? Or better yet, maybe once the border is secured, use the extra funding for a program to provide job opportunities for veterans instead?
Ebrard had previously suggested a package of $25 billion, while the Associated Press notes that “it [is] unclear if Mexico would give anything in return.”
$10.6 billion for "aid" south of the border…
Let that sink in for a moment. ????https://t.co/e1HGFsn8ua
— The American Workplace (@WorkPlaceRpt) December 19, 2018
Democrats’ Response to Aid Plan
You’d figure Democrats would be livid over the proposed aid package, especially since their leadership has repeatedly lamented the “exorbitant” cost of a border wall. With the wall projected to cost $5 billion, an $11 billion aid package would appear to be twice the waste but with the same goal: keeping migrant caravans from overrunning the border.
Yet back in October, when the White House was threatening to cut off aid Central America altogether, House Democrats warned that the proposal was a violation of federal law. New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, submitted that the presient lacks the authority to make those decisions unilaterally due to the Impoundment Control Act.
President Vows Other Ways to Fund Wall
While funding relief efforts in Central America and Mexico before a border wall has been built seems contrary to everything the president stands for, Trump has said there are means other than a congressional spending package to fund his efforts. Those other means include asking Cabinet secretaries to locate sources of funding within their departments or using military funds in order to finance the construction of the wall.
White House @PressSec on border wall funding and avoiding a government shutdown: “We are looking at every avenue available to us possible. The President has asked every one of his Cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders” pic.twitter.com/4ysRglWq94
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) December 18, 2018
Cross posted at the Mental Recession