June 18 (UPI) -- While Mexico avoided President Donald Trump's call for tariffs, other Central American countries will have their foreign aid cut because they haven't done enough to stop the flow of migrants into the United States.
The State Department announced Monday it will cut foreign aid to El Slavador, Guatemala and Honduras until Trump sees "concrete actions to reduce the number of illegal migrants coming to the U.S. border."
Current aid will continue, worth an estimated $432 million, but no future aid projects will be funded. Officials said an estimated $185 million will be withheld until the Central American countries, known as the Northern Triangle, have taken sufficient steps to stop illegal immigration.
Another $370 million allocated for 2018 will be diverted to other foreign policy priorities, officials said. Security funds that help fight transnational gangs will continue.
Trump first threatened to cut foreign aid to the Central American nations in March. Earlier this month, he struck a deal with Mexico in which the nation promised to send 6,000 Mexican troops to its border with Guatemala border to stem the flow of migrants.
Some lawmakers said the loss of U.S. aid may only make poverty, political instability and insecurity worse in those under-developed nations and cause more northerly migration. Much of the money is sent to non-governmental organizations that give it directly to the people who need it. Cutting funds punishes the masses for their government's decisions, some critics argue.
"Cutting off desperately-needed aid to Central America is not the answer to fixing our immigration system," Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., posted on Twitter. "In fact, it would exacerbate the crisis, driving children and families to our southern border."