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Readout of Secretary Kelly's Trip to Guatemala and Mexico

Release Date: 
February 24, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

On Feb. 21, Secretary Kelly traveled to Guatemala City for a series of meetings with senior officials there. The following day, the Secretary met with President Jimmy Morales, Minister of Government Francisco Rivas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Raul Morales, as well as the commissioner of National Civil Police, the 1st vice minister for security and the director of migration. Secretary Kelly met with U.S. Ambassador Todd Robinson and the deputy chief of mission, and he observed the Government of Guatemala reception process for DHS repatriation flights.  He also had a working lunch with Department of Homeland Security in-country and regional employees.

This first visit to Central America as Secretary of Homeland Security provided an opportunity to discuss key initiatives on stemming illegal migration, combatting human smuggling and trafficking, anti-corruption efforts and law enforcement cooperation.

After his meeting with the foreign minister, Secretary Kelly and Foreign Minister Morales conducted a press conference with local media. Secretary Kelly emphasized his productive meetings with the president and his ministers and discussed the strong bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala. He also addressed President Trump’s Executive Orders on border security and immigration, explaining our efforts to secure our border and enforce our laws. He described the dangers and exploitation faced by Guatemalan citizens who risk the journey north, noting that the “coyotes are liars” with no regard for human life, who are only concerned with taking money from the people they attempt to smuggle into the United States. Secretary Kelly’s humble advice to the people of Guatemala was not to risk their lives, and those of their precious children, on the dangerous journey, only to be stopped and returned immediately to their country.  He also noted that the U.S. remains open to legal migration and will continue to facilitate travel to the United States for legal permanent residents of the U.S. and those who wish to visit. Secretary Kelly then lauded President Morales for his anti-corruption efforts, noting that the citizens of Guatemala deserve elected officials and policy makers they can trust.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Raul Morales welcomes Secretary Kelly in Guatemala

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Raul Morales welcomes Secretary Kelly in Guatemala (DHS Photo/Jetta Disco)

On Feb. 22 and 23, Secretary Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conducted their first joint visit to Mexico City to meet with counterparts in the Government of Mexico. During the visit, the two met with President Enrique Peña Nieto and senior government officials, as well as the Secretaries of National Defense and the Navy. The conversations were forward-thinking, and covered the full range of bilateral issues, reaffirming close cooperation on economic and commercial issues, energy, migration, security, education, and people-to-people ties.  Secretaries Kelly and Tillerson reiterated our joint commitment to maintain law and order along our shared border, stop potential terrorists, and dismantle the transnational criminal networks moving drugs and people into the United States.

Secretaries Kelly and Tillerson recognized the excellent U.S.-Mexican cooperation to curtail illegal migration and trafficking, both by securing Mexico’s southern border and by supporting the efforts of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—through the Alliance for Prosperity and working with organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank—to reduce violence and stimulate economic opportunity in the region.

During his press conference with Secretary Tillerson and their Mexican counterparts, Secretary Kelly emphasized that our immigration enforcement efforts will neither involve “mass deportations” nor the use of U.S. military forces. However, as law enforcement operations, they will be conducted with professionalism, precision and discipline -- much like military operations -- by highly-trained law enforcement personnel, acting in accordance with the law and judicial orders. He said we will approach this operation systematically, in an organized way, in a results-oriented way, in an operational way, and with regard to human dignity. This is how great militaries, great legal organizations, law enforcement and the police do business.

Secretary Kelly participates in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Amb. Roberta Jacobson; Mexico Secretary of Finance and Public Credit José Antonio Meade Kuribreña; U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso to discuss his commitment to the United States-Mexico relationship and reiterated his commitment to cooperation on issues

Secretary Kelly participates in a bilateral meeting with U.S. Amb. Roberta Jacobson; Mexico Secretary of Finance and Public Credit José Antonio Meade Kuribreña; U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso to discuss his commitment to the United States-Mexico relationship and reiterated his commitment to cooperation on issues (DHS Photo/Jetta Disco)

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Last Published Date: March 1, 2017
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