by Ana Quintana
The Heritage Foundation
June 24, 2014
Rampant crime and violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle has driven waves of unaccompanied minors across the United States’ southern border. U.S. security assistance in that region is largely dictated by the Central American Regional Security Initiative, implemented in 2008. The current administration’s reductions in defense spending, combined with reallocation of foreign assistance toward development rather than security, perpetuate this climate of insecurity. Complicating this situation is the White House’s incoherent Central America policy, which punishes willing partner nations and rewards enemies. Congress must reverse these trends. That starts with restoring counter-narcotics aid to partners like Honduras and removing the legislative restrictions that keep these countries from maintaining ample security forces. The shrinking of the defense budget must be reversed in order to allow for U.S. maritime interdiction in this critical area. Central America’s importance to our national security has been woefully neglected; the time to correct that is now.

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