Cutting the dollar flow from the US to Guatemala would certainly punish Guatemalans. But it would also hurt Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration.

Guatemalans living abroad wired $9.3 billion in remittances last year, most from the US. They’re set to break that record this year—they sent nearly $5 billion home already between January and June.

To be sure, those dollars act as potent marketing for the advantages of living in the US. But they also feed, clothe, and house many Guatemalans. Families that receive remittances are more likely to educate their kids, work more hours, and start their own businesses than those that don’t, a 2018 International Monetary Fund analysis found.

The losses would also reverberate throughout the economy, as Guatemalans with relatives abroad spend less in local stores and businesses. Last year, remittances made up nearly 12% of  the country’s GDP. A worsening economy, particularly in areas where lack of opportunities have pushed locals to migrate, would likely give Guatemalans stronger reasons to leave. Some of those places are already struggling due to drought.

The top goal for migrating to the US cited by one northbound caravan was a better quality of life, according to a 2018 survey by the United Nation’s Migration Agency.

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