President Trump is right to want to stop an illegal immigrant caravan from approaching the U.S. border. But Trump would make a big mistake by following through on his threat on Tuesday and cutting U.S. aid programs in Honduras.

That's because the programs are specifically focused on reducing criminality while providing education and employment opportunities that allow Hondurans to escape from violence but remain in their own country. Gangs in Honduras, including MS-13, possess an almost psychotic penchant for brutality. And so, even as Trump rightly cannot accept illegal immigration, Honduran desperation is rational.

In turn, we should pay heed to the data on U.S. aid programs in Honduras. A 2014 study by Vanderbilt University, for example, found that thanks to U.S. programs, "51 percent fewer residents reported being aware of extortion and blackmail, 51 percent fewer residents reported being aware of murders, 35 percent fewer residents reported avoiding dangerous areas because of fear of crime." Similar programs continue to operate today. Moreover, Vanderbilt also found that U.S. AID's success has naturally conservative undertones: explicitly identifying the need for greater fostering of families, faith institutions, and schools in leading young people away from violence.

These, put simply, are programs that the American people have joined moral and political reason to support. A better way of preventing the kind of caravans we see this week would be to boost these aid programs and clean up the Honduran government. That would cultivate an environment of improved governance that could finally get to grips with Honduras' deep social ills. As for the caravan, why can't the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol simply obstruct its passage onto U.S. soil instead of threatening programs that work well?