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Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras where she met with security ministers representing the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The multilateral discussions mark the continuation of a multi-year diplomatic process and the signing of a historic Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on border security cooperation in Central America.
Together with Guatemalan Minister of Government Enrique Degenhart, Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco, and Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security Mauricio Landaverde, Secretary Nielsen expressed her gratitude for the continued collaboration and partnership of the Central American nations as they work to stem the flood of irregular migration and develop regional approach to addressing the ongoing humanitarian and security emergency at our Southern Border.
“America shares common cause with the countries of Central America in confronting these challenges,” said Secretary Nielsen. “We all want to enforce our laws, ensure a safe and orderly migrant flow, protect our communities, facilitate legal trade and travel, support vulnerable populations, interdict dangerous and illicit drug flow, and secure our borders.”
“I look forward to implementing this historic agreement and working with my Northern Triangle counterparts to help secure all of our nations and to end the humanitarian and security crisis we face,” said Nielsen. “Together we will prevail.”
The MOC – the first ever multilateral compact on border security – aims to better synchronize cooperation between the countries in order to bolster border security, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, and address the root causes of the migration crisis through better synchronized efforts to include the following:
- Human trafficking and smuggling;
- Combating transnational criminal organizations and gangs;
- Expanding Information and Intelligence Sharing;
- Strengthening air, land, and maritime border security.
Each of these focus areas will be pursued through an array of agreed-upon initiatives. Technical working groups with representatives from each country will monitor the initiatives and ensure they are carried out expeditiously. The groups will meet periodically throughout the year, with Secretary Nielsen and the Northern Triangle Ministers continuing to meet in the coming months to ensure continued momentum.
While in Honduras, Secretary Nielsen also participated in a bilateral meeting with the Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and First Lady Ana Rosalinda García de Hernández. Secretary Nielsen affirmed America’s commitment to working with Honduras in a shared effort of combatting human trafficking and child smuggling, as well as addressing the major drivers of irregular migration prompting families and individuals to put themselves in harm’s way by embarking on the dangerous journey north.