U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly traveled to Guatemala City for a series of meetings with senior officials there. He met with President Jimmy Morales, Minister of Government Francisco Rivas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Raul Morales, as well as the commissioner of National Civil Police, the First vice minister for security and the director of migration.
Secretary Kelly met with U.S. Ambassador Todd Robinson and the deputy chief of mission, and he observed the Government of Guatemala reception process for DHS repatriation flights. He also had a working lunch with Department of Homeland Security in-country and regional employees.
This first visit to Central America as Secretary of Homeland Security provided an opportunity to discuss key initiatives on stemming illegal migration, combating human smuggling and trafficking, anti-corruption efforts and law enforcement cooperation.
At a press conference, Secretary Kelly emphasized his productive meetings with the president and his ministers and discussed the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Guatemala. He also addressed President Trump’s Executive Orders on border security and immigration, explaining our efforts to secure our border and enforce our laws.
Secretary Kelly described the dangers and exploitation faced by Guatemalan citizens who risk the journey north, noting that the “coyotes are liars” with no regard for human life, who are only concerned with taking money from the people they attempt to smuggle into the United States.
Secretary Kelly’s advice to the people of Guatemala was not to risk their lives, and those of their precious children, on the dangerous journey, only to be stopped and returned immediately to their country. He also noted that the United States remains open to legal migration and will continue to facilitate travel for legal residents of the United States and those who wish to visit.
Secretary Kelly then lauded President Morales for his anti-corruption efforts, noting that the citizens of Guatemala deserve elected officials and policy makers they can trust.
The United States is committed to work with its partner Guatemala to promote the security and safety of both countries and the Central American region.