The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Ministry of Government of Guatemala on Tuesday signed an agreement aimed at combatting the flooding of illegal aliens to America's southern border. The two countries will work together to combat human smuggling and trafficking; drug trafficking; illegal trade and financial flows in the Northern Triangle of Central America – Guatemala, Honduras. and El Salvador.
“I am proud to sign this agreement with Minister Enrique Antonio Degenhart,” Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement. “Through our continued collaboration and partnership, the U.S. and Guatemala are formalizing a number of initiatives to improve the lives and security of our respective citizens by combating human trafficking and the smuggling of illegal goods, helping to limit ‘push’ factors that encourage dangerous irregular migration to the U.S., perpetuating the ongoing crisis at or border.”
The agreement was signed on the first day of McAleenan's four-day trip to the Northern Triangle countries, where he plans to meet with leaders of countries whose residents are flocking to the United States.
Both countries believe this will be a powerful move to protect those fleeing the Northern Triangle countries and prevent them from flocking to the United States' border en masse.
Caravans from Central America – primarily Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – started coming to the southern border en mass last fall. Border Patrol is overwhelmed with the number of people illegally crossing into the United States, to the point where 40 percent of all agents along the southern border have been pulled from patrolling to processing detainees.
The number of illegal aliens needing to be processed is so high that U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Acting Commissioner John Sanders said that Border Patrol is having to transport hundreds of family units by bus and planes form southern Border Patrol stations to ones further north of the border.
Smaller stations, primarily quick processing centers designed to target drug traffickers and cartels, have had to take on this additional responsibility. Illegal aliens were flown from Texas to San Diego and bused to various facilities in the San Diego sector, despite the sector designed for short-term holding (24 hours). Although the facilities were designed for short-term holding, illegal aliens are being held for long periods of time.