At the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America held in Miami last week, Vice President Mike Pence told presidents of Northern Triangle countries that the U.S. will be prioritizing “War on Drugs” tactics to stop illegal drugs and immigrants from entering the country. The VP told the assembled leaders that Central American gangs were to blame for most of these crimes, and also addressed corrupt politicians who have worked in collusion with drug cartels.
"President Trump has already taken decisive action to protect the American people from the harshest consequences of illegal immigration and the transnational drug trade," Pence said in his address. "To further stem the flow of illegal immigration and illegal drugs into the United States, President Trump knows, as do all of you, that we must confront these problems at their source. We must meet them -- and we must solve them -- in Central and South America."
Pence also told the assembled presidents that the U.S. would be cutting financial assistance for Northern Triangle countries. This year, the U.S. will be providing $650 million in financial aid, but next year, Pence said that amount would decrease to $460 million. The majority of the funding that is being cut was dedicated to social programs that had been implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
These social programs were implemented by the Alliance for Prosperity in Central America, a program instituted by the Obama administration in 2014. This program's original intent was to fight illegal drug trafficking and immigration by tackling the root causes of the issue. The program sought to address issues like marginalization of youth or lack of economic opportunity that drive Central American youth to engage in these illegal activities. This aspect of the Alliance for Prosperity was notably entirely absent from Pence's address.