Pelosi leads congressional delegation to Central America, Mexico border

Pelosi leads congressional delegation to Central America, Mexico border
© Aaron Schwartz

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) is leading a congressional delegation on a trip to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that will ultimately end at McAllen, Texas, as she seeks to highlight President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE’s hard-line immigration policies.

“As our high-powered delegation begins our visit to the Northern Triangle, we look forward to strengthening our partnership to enhance regional security and stability, create greater economic opportunity, combat corruption and advance human rights to make it safer for people to thrive in their communities,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday, referring to the three Central American countries.

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The delegation will meet with government officials to “renew our commitment to advancing our shared interests and to helping empower the people of the Northern Triangle to build a better future at home” and honor the “the enormous contributions that generations of immigrants from the region have made to the United States.”

Del. Aumua Amata RadewagenAmata (Aumua Amata) Catherine RadewagenPelosi leads congressional delegation to Central America, Mexico border Preserve choice but simplify citizenship for U.S. nationals American Samoa delegate loses seat MORE of American Samoa is the only Republican in the 13-member delegation.

The Central American countries have been thrust into the spotlight this year as Trump accuses them of not taking adequate steps to stem the flow of migrants northward and even creating so-called caravans of people who migrate to the U.S.

The Trump administration announced in March that it would no longer provide foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

“We were paying them tremendous amounts of money. And we're not paying them anymore. Because they haven't done a thing for us. They set up these caravans,” Trump said at the time.

The president later reversed course and allowed roughly two-thirds of the money to be sent to the countries that comprise the Northern Triangle.

Trump has also threatened Guatemala with tariffs and other penalties for “sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States.”

The White House is trying to reach an agreement with Guatemala that would require migrants traveling through the country to apply for asylum there before continuing on toward the U.S. Trump said last month that an agreement had been reached, but later reports said negotiations were ongoing.

The congressional delegation led by Pelosi will end in McAllen, where lawmakers will meet with asylum-seeking families and view detention conditions for migrants at the border, which Democrats have slammed as inhumane.

“Many Members of the delegation have made several visits to the border, where they have been heartbroken by the horrific situation," Pelosi said Thursday. "House Democrats will constantly visit the border to demand that conditions are improved to reflect American values and to respect the dignity of every person."