Over the past year, the United States has taken a series of steps to address the ongoing humanitarian challenges in Central America, particularly for the many vulnerable individuals attempting to leave the region and come to the United States, while also promoting safe and orderly migration and border security. As part of this ongoing effort, the United States is announcing the following initiatives to help vulnerable families and individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Central American migration
“In June 2016, apprehensions by the Border Patrol on our southwest border – an indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally – decreased from the levels we saw in May and April. Year to date, apprehensions are somewhat higher than in FY 2015, but significantly lower than FY 2014 and FY 2013:
Last week I visited El Salvador and Honduras. I met with the Presidents and other senior officials of both countries. While in both countries, I also visited reception centers that welcome those who have been sent home by the U.S. government after entering our country illegally. I observed the arrival of a repatriation flight. I am impressed with the efforts both governments are making to repatriate, resettle, and reintegrate their citizens who have been deported home by our country.
On May 19-20, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will travel to El Salvador and Honduras for meetings and engagements regarding current migration trends in Central America.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez Sanz to discuss opportunities for bilateral engagement on border security, information sharing, counter-narcotic efforts, and migration flows through Central America.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela to discuss bilateral collaboration on immigration and border security, and potential areas for regional engagement on these issues.
In February 2016, apprehensions by the Border Patrol on our southwest border – an indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally – increased slightly from January, but remained substantially below the month-to-month numbers of apprehensions we saw in the latter part of 2015. The numbers of unaccompanied children and family members remained at the same levels as January, which is greatly reduced from the apprehension numbers at the end of 2015. The overall 10 percent increase from January is due to an increase in apprehensions of single adults, from 17,505 in January to 19,917 in February, 71.5 percent of whom are from Mexico. Notably, one year ago, in February 2015, the number of apprehensions of single adults was 19,950, and in February 2014 the number was 28,277.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to discuss President Morales’ priorities for his administration and the two countries’ continued cooperation on a number of shared economic and security issues.
Como he dicho en muchas ocasiones, nuestras fronteras no están abiertas a la inmigración ilegal; si usted viene a este país, le enviaremos de vuelta de acuerdo a lo que dictan nuestras leyes y valores.
Last summer, this Department took a number of steps to respond to an unprecedented influx in illegal migration from Central America. Many of those apprehended at the border were adults who brought their children with them. In response to this influx, we increased our family residential center capacity. We recognize, however, the special concerns involved in detaining families with children. And over the past several months, we have implemented significant reforms to how we operate our family residential centers. We are also engaging with stakeholders to listen and discuss their concerns, and will continue to make additional improvements when appropriate. We have established a Federal Advisory Committee with experts in mental health, family and youth services, and other areas to advise on our policies going forward.