While DHS Calls for Cooperation with the Northern Triangle, President Trump Seeks to Cut Aid and Close the Border

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Saturday, April 6, 2019
Bruce Zagaris

On March 28, 2019, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen signed, on behalf of the United States, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on border security cooperation in Central America. Almost simultaneously, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he was planning on cutting U.S. assistance to the three countries and has threatened to close the border with Mexico. HSA Secretary Nielsen met with Guatemalan Minister of Government Enrique Degenhart, Honduran Security Minister Julian Pacheco, and Salvadoran Minister of Justice and Public Security Mauricio Landaverde. The MOC – the first ever multilateral compact on border security – has the goal of improved synchronized cooperation between the countries to strengthen border security, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, and address the root causes of the migration crisis through synchronized efforts.  It touches on the following:  human trafficking and smuggling; combating transnational criminal organizations and gangs; expanding information and intelligence sharing; and strengthening air, land, and maritime border security. The signatories will pursue each of these focus areas 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 law enforcement 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.