Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen hosted the second day of the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, which focused on improving citizen security and safety in Central America. As part of the conference, Secretary Nielsen and Mexican Foreign Secretary Videgaray met with leaders from Northern Triangle countries in Washington, D.C., including Minister of Government Degenhart of Guatemala, Secretary of Security Pacheco of Honduras, and Minister of Justice and Public Security Landaverde of El Salvador.
Throughout the day's sessions, discussions focused on security cooperation, stemming the flow of illegal migration, combating organized crime and gangs, and enhancing regional and citizen security.
Secretary Nielsen recognized the efforts being taken by the Northern Triangle governments to strengthen security in the region. In the area of narcotics trafficking, one of many subjects the leaders touched upon today that affects security in the region was that much of South American cocaine bound for the U.S. travels through Central America. As part of the Department's commitment to stopping the flow of illicit drugs crossing our borders, Secretary Nielsen committed to continuing to work with these countries to address drug trafficking.
Additionally, the leaders discussed the flow of illegal immigrants from Northern Triangle countries. Since 2014, when nearly 52,000 children from the Northern Triangle region of Central America made the dangerous journey alone to the U.S. border, the U.S. government has worked with the governments of the Northern Triangle to address the root causes of illegal immigration to the United States. By reducing crime and violence, addressing corruption and impunity, disrupting the activities of transnational criminal organizations, and providing citizens in Central America with greater economic opportunity, the United States is helping to foster an environment where families can envision their futures in their home countries and communities.
During the working sessions, Secretary Nielsen thanked all of the Central American leaders for their continued partnership as we work to build a secure and prosperous Central America. Secretary Nielsen also reaffirmed her commitment to fighting human smuggling organizations and transnational criminals who continue to do harm to Central American families and children.
For more information on the joint progress since the 2017 conference and the agreements to expand cooperation over the two-day Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, please see the U.S. Fact Sheet here.