President Donald Trump has gone after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, threatening to close the border if Lopez Obrador didn’t stop the movement of Central Americans north. He called out Central America’s leaders as well, announcing an end to hundreds of millions in aid for their supposed recalcitrance.
Yet Trump’s bullying tactics will not lower the number of women, children and men leaving El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for the United States. If anything, the aid pullback will undermine the tenuous ability of these nations to mitigate these migratory flows.
To be sure, Trump’s tough stance is diametrically opposed to that of Lopez Obrador, who campaigned on protecting rather than incarcerating migrants, promising visas instead of deportation orders. His first bilateral step as president-elect, laid out in a long love letter to President Trump, was an ambitious $30 billion plan for Central America to take on the root causes of the regional exodus.