U.S. Foreign Assistance to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

As Congress considers proposals to cut foreign assistance in response to the border crisis, it should be careful not to disrupt programs that serve U.S. interests and address the security conditions that have contributed to this problem. In particular, programs such as those run by the Department of Defense and other relevant federal agencies also contribute to security assistance efforts. It cannot be denied that Mexico and parts of Central America face crises of corruption, weak institution, and violent transnational gangs. Yet cutting foreign assistance to these regions might only worsen the problem. Indeed, the recent financial successes of Mexican and Central American cartels owe in large part to U.S. defense cuts that have adversely affected our drug interdiction capabilities. Rather than cutting foreign aid, Congress should increase security cooperation with these countries – and thus make our own country more secure.

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