Dear Secretary Pompeo,
We write to express our strong opposition to the Department of State's decision to suspend development and humanitarian assistance for Central America's "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The suspension of this aid will not only undermine longstanding bipartisan policy goals in Central America, but also represents a willful disregard for congressional intent. We call on you to immediately reverse this policy decision.
Beginning in 2015, in response to the growing number of Central American children and families arriving at our Southern Border, Congress has provided, on a bipartisan basis, a substantial increase in assistance to these countries. This assistance, which was largely delivered through non-governmental organizations, was not a blank check: it came with a robust set of conditions to ensure that the region's governments did their part to address the root causes of migration; 75 percent of Fiscal Year 2017 and 2018 assistance for the central governments is subject to these conditions.
Millions of dollars in aid provided to communities through non-governmental organizations is now in jeopardy. Multiple programs that are demonstrating results--reducing violence at the local level, helping young people find jobs, and reducing the rates of malnutrition in rural areas--will be forced to close their doors. Non-governmental organizations and U.S. governmental entities who have made commitments to local partners will be forced to renege on those commitments.
As a result, a significant investment by American taxpayers will go to waste. Progress made on reducing violence and poverty will be reversed, more children and families from the Northern Triangle will be forced to flee their communities, and the situation at our border will get worse, not better. Additionally, United States influence in Central America will decline, and our global competitors, especially China, will reap the benefits.
Again, we strongly urge you to change course, and we welcome a discussion about how we can work together to effectively address the root causes of migration and avoid creating a true crisis at our southern border.