The White House has reached a deal with Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras to potentially stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States, Biden administration officials said on April 12.
Tyler Moran, special assistant to the president for immigration for the Domestic Policy Council, said on MSNBC that the administration “secured agreements” that would place “more troops on their” respective borders.
“Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala have all agreed to do this,” Moran said. “That not only is going to prevent the traffickers and the smugglers and cartels that take advantage of the kids on their way here, but also to protect those children.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on April 12, in confirming Moran’s statement, that there “was a commitment” from the governments of those three countries.
“Mexico made the decision to maintain 10,000 troops at its Southern border resulting in twice as many daily migrant interdictions,” she said. “Guatemala surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its Southern border with Honduras and agreed to set up 12 checkpoints along the migratory route. Honduras surged 7,000 police and military to disperse a large contingent of migrants.”
The announcement comes as numerous illegal immigrants have attempted to cross the U.S.–Mexico border in recent months. In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 171,000 illegal immigrants, including a significant number of unaccompanied children, according to data provided by the agency.
Authorities encountered 18,890 unaccompanied children in March, well above previous highs of 11,475 in May 2019 and 10,620 in June 2014 reported by the Border Patrol, which began publishing numbers in 2009.
More than 4,000 parents and children—mostly unaccompanied children—have been crammed into a CBP tent complex designed for 250 in Donna, Texas. More than 600 children were packed into a room built for 32 last week, separated by plastic walls.
Meanwhile, in some sectors such as Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, the Border Patrol stopped issuing court notices to many migrant families in March to save time, instead ordering that they report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office within 60 days.
“We’re addressing the reasons that people are coming from the region. This is really important. If you just focus on our border, you’re not addressing why people are actually coming to our border. The president has a blueprint and he’s working with the vice president on this,” Moran said.
In late March, President Joe Biden said he would have Vice President Kamala Harris manage the border crisis. Days later, the White House said Harris would “lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle,” referring to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. It isn’t clear if Harris brokered the deal with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.
“We’re sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming,” Biden said during a March 25 press conference in defending his administration’s efforts. “We’re trying to work out now, with Mexico, their willingness to take more of those families back.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.