Trump wants to partially cut or eliminate foreign aid to countries whose citizens enter the U.S. illegally or become undocumented U.S. residents, especially if those immigrants become violent criminals in the U.S.
He has ordered his administration to work on such a plan, although he did not provide specific details at the time of his announcement on May 23 in New York.
“Many of these countries we give tremendous amounts of aid to,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion.
“Tens of millions of dollars. And we're working on a plan to deduct a lot of the aid because I happen to believe that it's not so hard.
“So we're going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from that country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid - if we give them aid at all, which we may not just give them aid at all.”
Caribbean nations rely heavily on aid from the U.S., which is the largest foreign aid donor nation in the world. Billions of dollars in economic and security aid are given to Caribbean nations each year. Some $45 billion was sent the low and middle income countries by the U.S. in 2015, according to sources.
While no Caribbean nation is believed to be in the top 15 nations receiving aid from the U.S., a few still collect substantial amounts. Haiti, for example, received almost $380 million in economic and military aid from the U.S. in fiscal year 2016, according to USAID. Jamaica received $29 million, the same year Trinidad and Tobago received $1.3 million. Guyana got $9.7 million.
Those nations are among several from the Caribbean with large immigrant populations in the U.S. Thousands of those are believed to be undocumented.
Trump has argued that many nations, including some from the Caribbean, are not doing enough to prevent their citizens from entering and staying in the U.S. illegally.
“They'll let you think that they're trying to stop this,” the president said. “They're not trying to stop it. I think they encourage people.
“They don't want the people. They don't want the people that we're getting in that country.
“Despite all the reports I hear, I don't believe they're helping us one bit,” Trump added.
Some 11 million undocumented immigrants are believed to be living in the U.S. Thousands of those are reportedly from the Caribbean.
Some nations have argued against the U.S. sending undocumented immigrants back to the Caribbean. They claim they should not have to accept them since many had moved to the U.S., lived almost their entire lives there and would not fit in if returned to the Caribbean.
Regional governments have also argued that undocumented residents in the U.S. who commit crimes, after living in the U.S. for lengthy periods, should not be returned to the Caribbean, since their link to criminal activities was most likely developed in the U.S.