21:06 GMT02 March 2021
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    Trump blames several Latin American nations for not stopping the caravan of migrants and has threatened to cut international aid to those countries.

    A caravan of migrants moving from Honduras to the US southern border has grown to more than 7,500 people, CNN reported Monday.

    The organizers of the caravan, which is currently stationed in Mexico's southern city of Tapachula, say they expect to reach US border in approximately one week.

    The caravan, which started in Honduras last week, has raised a major political turmoil in the United States after US President Donald Trump blamed Latin American countries for not stopping it, and even threatened to cut international aid to those nations if the caravan reached the US.

    "Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the US. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them," the president tweeted Monday.

    Earlier, Trump had praised Mexican authorities for deploying 500 federal police to ensure an orderly entry of migrants to Mexico from Guatemala. However, the border security only processed those crossing the border by the border bridge, while many more migrants crossed the border by water and reportedly reunited with the caravan on the Mexican side.

    "Sadly, it looks like Mexico's Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in," Trump said Monday on Twitter.

    According to the United States Agency for International Development, Guatemala received $249 million in US aid in 2017, while Honduras received $175 million, and El Salvador received $115 million.

    However, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee insists that Trump will need to secure Congressional approval to cut aid to foreign nations.

    "Fortunately, Congress — not the president — has the power of the purse, and my colleagues and I will not stand idly by as this administration ignores congressional intent," Engel said in a statement, according to The Hill.

    "The president's approach to Central America will have precisely the opposite impact from what he intends," he added.

    Earlier on Monday, Trump declared the approaching caravan a national emergency and reportedly alerted the US military and Customs and Border Protection. However, no additional troops have been sent to the border so far to reinforce the 2,100 National Guard troops already stationed at the border, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning.


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