US State Department outlines conditions for resumption of funding to Northern Triangle
Following US President Trump's decision to freeze assistance to the Northern Triangle of Central America in the spring of 2019, the US Department of State (State) has sent a letter to Capitol Hill setting forth what must be done in order for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to once again be eligible for US foreign assistance. Although public statements by State had previously said that funding would be resumed after a full review, the letter gives no timetable for when -- or even if -- US assistance might restart.
The letter from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in response to a request by the Chairs of the full House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade. The Chairs had requested information as to when full funding would return and if that would be related to the implementation of the agreements signed by the US and the three countries which allow the US to return asylum seekers back to Central America when seeking such status. State's letter said that the "governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras must improve their border security; combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking, especially related to children; receive and reintegrate returned citizens; and implement public messaging campaigns to dissuade illegal immigration from these countries." The State Department's implementation plan for resumption of funding, however, was not released on the grounds that it is deliberative. The House leaders have renewed their request for information, deeming the letter nonresponsive.