WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen met with senior officials from the Government of Mexico Tuesday, March 26 to discuss border security and immigration, and she will travel to Honduras to participate in multilateral meetings with regional partners to discuss the common cause America shares with the countries of Central America in confronting migration flows and promoting security and prosperity. There she plans to sign a first-of-its-kind regional accord meant to address the migration crisis.
The Secretary traveled to Miami, Florida on Tuesday for a bilateral meeting with Mexican Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez Cordero and senior Mexican government officials. They discussed ways the U.S. and Mexico can work together to address irregular migration and the record levels of illegal entries at the U.S. Southern Border, where last month DHS apprehended more than 75,000 individuals—a 12-year high. They also discussed combating human trafficking and smuggling, security cooperation, and U.S. plans to bolster the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a DHS initiative to return migrants to Mexico and provide humanitarian protections while they await U.S. immigration processing.
On Wednesday, March 27 the Secretary will be in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to participate in a multilateral meeting at the Ministry of Security with Northern Triangle officials representing the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The meeting will mark the continuation of a multi-year diplomatic process aimed at stemming the flood of irregular migration at the source, and ultimately help confront the ongoing humanitarian and security emergency at the U.S. Southern Border. The meetings will be led by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.
The Secretary and Northern Triangle security ministers have been working toward the development of a first-of-its-kind Memorandum of Cooperation—or “regional compact”— between the U.S. and the countries of the Northern Triangle. Reflecting improved cooperation between the countries, the accord focuses on stemming the migration crisis at its source, including preventing the formation of new migrant caravans that set out to reach the United States.
A final compact would cover four distinct areas of collaboration:
– Combating Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
– Countering Organized Crime and Gangs
– Expanding Information and Intelligence Sharing
– Strengthening Border Security
Following Secretary Nielsen’s call for the formation of a “compact” last summer, in February she and Northern Triangle security ministers announced the signing of a joint statement declaring a commitment to reach a final deal to improve information sharing, law enforcement cooperation, and public messaging to address the ongoing crisis.
Earlier on Wednesday, Nielsen will participate in bilateral meetings with the Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and First Lady Ana García Carías at the Ministry of Security in Tegucigalpa.