President Donald Trump is planning to pay Mexico $20 million to help pay plane and bus fare to deport as many as 17,000 people who have entered that country illegally, The New York Times is reporting.
The administration has notified Congress it will use money earmarked as foreign assistance funds to help Mexico. The newspaper noted it comes after Trump has promised for years that Mexico would pay for a wall along the U.S. southern border.
The U.S. will now pay Mexico to help increase deportations of Central Americans, the Times said. Many of those from Central American nations try to cross into the U.S., according to the Times.
More than 160,000 immigrants from the three Central American countries were caught on the U.S.-Mexico border during the 2017 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
“We are working closely with our Mexican counterparts to confront rising border apprehension numbers — specifically, a 38 percent increase in families this month alone — directly and to ensure that those with legitimate claims have access to appropriate protections,” said Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.
But Democrats are reacting critically to the plan.
“I want answers about why the State Department thinks it can ignore Congress and dump more cash into deportation efforts,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. “Until then, I’ll do whatever I can to stop this.”
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