Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence’s Remarks with Honduran First Lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez at Attention Center for Returned Migrants in La Lima

Good afternoon, thank you for being here. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the First Lady and the Government of Honduras for their continuous support, collaboration, and friendship.

So what we’ve done here today, collaboratively between our two countries, is essential to try to stem the irregular migration trends that we’ve seen over the past year.

As we have said in our country and I know has been said here as well, this is a humanitarian crisis. And what we’re trying to do is prevent, especially these families with these children, from being victimized and from taking this risky journey to the United States, where ultimately they will not have a lawful right to remain.

So, these individuals and these families units particularly are going to either have to wait in Mexico to have their hearings in front of an immigration judge in the United States, or could be subject to detention in the United States while they await that hearing, which again most of these individuals will not meet the legal standard in our country to be able to lawfully remain. And what this allows is for us to safely and humanely return them back to Honduras in a fashion that is safe and quick and efficient, and they don’t have to put their hands into the criminal organizations that are operating and facilitating these smuggling operations.

And we’re hoping this helps get the message to others here in Honduras that might be thinking about taking that dangerous journey and putting themselves and their families at risk, that they should not take that dangerous journey, they should not spend all their money and line the pockets of these criminal smuggling organizations. Because ultimately they are not going to be able to stay in the United States, and they are going to be returned.

And I know the Government of Honduras is working diligently to provide greater opportunities for its citizens here in the country to limit the desire or need to try to find other economic opportunities, and we support them in that.

I just want to thank the First Lady again, and her team and the Task Force who work on these issues on a day-to-day basis, for the tremendous work that they are doing. And we’re thankful again for the great cooperation and support that we’ve received, and we’ll continue to grow on that as we move forward. Thank you again.