Aid groups have criticized the United States for its decision to cut assistance to three Central American nations. They warned this week that the decision is likely to backfire.
The charities added that they believe it will increase the numbers of Central Americans moving north toward the U.S. border to escape violence and poverty.
The U.S. State Department announced last weekend it would end foreign aid to programs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras -- three countries known as the Northern Triangle.
President Donald Trump has said repeatedly that he planned to suspend the aid. He criticized the three for doing little to stop the movement of migrants and asylum seekers, many of whom want to live in the United States.
Charities receive money from the U.S. government to assist with economic and social development in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The groups say aid cuts will not stop the migrants and may make the situation worse.
The people who are really going to get hurt by this are the people who are ... small farmers and teenagers trying to avoid the pressures of joining gangs and escape violence, said David Ray. He is with the international aid group CARE.
Poverty, violence and insecurity - those are exactly the drivers of migration. It seems to be self-defeating, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The United States provides hundreds of millions of dollars every year for aid projects in the Northern Triangle. U.S. aid to Central America dropped to $527.6 million this year from $655 million in 2017. Those numbers come from the Washington Office on Latin America, a research group.
Trump's idea to reduce aid to the Northern Triangle could add to migration north as the situation in their countries worsens, experts said.
He is concerned about border security, said Robert Zachritz. He is vice president for advocacy and government relations at the charity World Vision. This move is counterproductive, he added.
World Vision usually receives about $127 million in U.S. government money for Northern Triangle projects.
CARE would have to greatly reduce efforts in the area, including a project that helps poor farmers in Guatemala.