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WASHINGTON – Today, on behalf of the Trump Administration, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan signed two arrangements with the Government of Honduras to expand bilateral initiatives to confront irregular migration through Central America. The signings, which took place at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters in Washington, will increase collaboration between the two countries on key issues.
“These arrangements follow the signing of a cooperative agreement on Wednesday will further enhance asylum and protection capacity in Honduras and provide protection for vulnerable populations as close to home as possible,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “DHS will continue to confront irregular migration with its international partners to improve safety and prosperity in the Central America region, mitigating the 'push and pull' factors that contribute to the security and humanitarian crisis on our Southwest border.”
The first arrangement signed will enhance cooperation to strengthen immigration enforcement in order to further impede irregular migration flows from and through Central America. With this agreement, the U.S. and Honduras will collaborate to support criminal investigations targeting gangs, human smuggling, and trafficking networks. The U.S. will also provide technical support to Honduras’s efforts to establish capacity building.
The second arrangement signed will expand information sharing by supporting Honduran efforts to coordinate the use and implementation of data sharing program to support law enforcement and public safety. This will allow the U.S. and Honduras to automatically exchange information in real-time on third-country nationals trying to enter Honduras. This program is a critical tool in advancing shared law enforcement and irregular migration management priorities.
An agreement was also signed today between the U.S. Department of Labor and Honduras to improve nonimmigrant visa program operations and implementation. With this agreement, the U.S. and Honduras put into action a joint effort to address expanding opportunities legal immigration from Honduras to support U.S. business interests, reducing non-tariff trade barriers to promote foreign direct investment, trade facilitation, and customs enhancement.
“With Honduras’ commitment to protecting their workers from criminal actors who charge excessive fees and facilitate human trafficking, U.S. employers relying on the H-2 programs can feel confident the workers they recruit from Honduras are coming to the U.S. to work a good job and return to Honduras to build their life and family,” said the U.S. Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John P. Pallasch. “Through this agreement, the Honduran government will provide for temporary workers seeking employment in the United States and will coordinate with U.S. employers in the recruitment process. The agreement will complement existing U.S. laws and strengthen the protections for U.S. workers as well as prospective Honduran H-2 workers by ensuring Honduran H-2 workers are less susceptible to criminal actors and are not charged excessive fees as part of the H-2 nonimmigrant visa program.”
Through August of this fiscal year, more than 72 percent of migrants apprehended at the U.S. Southwest border came from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Each of these countries has now entered into agreements with the Trump Administration to confront irregular migration.
Previously released joint statement:
Joint Statement Between the U.S. Government and the Government of Honduras
September 26, 2019
WASHINGTON - The United States and Honduras share a strong partnership. Our geographical proximity, common principles, and democratic values have led to close cooperation between both countries over the years, from addressing historical migration flows to efforts to build a more stable and prosperous region. The broad scope of this relationship has progressed into key agreements with respect to economic and environmental cooperation; cultural, humanitarian, and security support; counternarcotic efforts; and migration.
For many countries, the global challenges to achieving sustainable development have grown in recent decades. In the case of Honduras, natural disasters, drug trafficking, transnational criminal organizations, and international economic and financial conditions have all negatively affected the country’s economic growth, social development, human rights, and security. In this context, a holistic approach is needed to address irregular migration throughout the region.
Recognizing the mutual interest in overcoming these global challenges, both countries commit to implement the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Republic of Honduras for Cooperation in the Examination of Protection Claims, which is designed to create economic and formal job opportunities for Hondurans with a joint commitment to continue building stronger border security and law enforcement cooperation.
This agreement incorporates the framework of applicable international conventions for individuals seeking protection to execute a more humanitarian approach to addressing out-migration from Honduras. It takes into account the economic capabilities of Honduras for implementation, as well as cooperation with the United States and international organizations. Both countries will periodically review implementation of this agreement and make the necessary adjustments or consider the potential expansion of cooperation to ensure its success.
The United States and Honduras reaffirm their commitment to combat mutual threats, including terrorism, transnational criminal organizations and gangs, drug trafficking, and trafficking in persons. Leaders from both countries pledge to promote economic prosperity, regional stability, democratic institutions, and the protection of human rights for the benefit of both nations.