MCALLEN, TEXAS (ValleyCentral) — Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was in the Valley Saturday to meet with President Xiomara Castro of Honduras.
The event was scheduled to discuss immigration and how the two countries could reduce the flow of migrants to the United States.
The two leaders met with Customs and Border Patrol agents and toured CBP facilities before the meeting.
Secretary Mayorkas said his message for migrants was clear. “We will continue to use our authorities and resources to deliver consequences at the border for individuals who enter our country illegally, and do not have a basis to remain,” he said.
Mayorkas said his department would work as quickly as possible to remove those who aren’t legally allowed to stay in the country. “We will also continue to build lawful, orderly and humane pathways for people to reach the United States outside the grip of the ruthless smugglers,” he added.
Mayorkas said Congress has failed, for decades, to fix the immigration issue. He said, “Our immigration system is absolutely broken, a fact on which everyone agrees, and Congress needs to fix it.”
He said Congress had yet to act on a $4 billion request for funding and resources to address the immediate challenge of an increase in migrant numbers.
Mayorkas also addressed the budget talks going on in Washington, and how they affect his department and their mission.
“Congress is also on the verge of shutting down the government, which would leave the extraordinary men and women of the Department of Homeland Security working without pay. Including those who protect our borders.”, he said.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro said her office had been requesting a meeting like this ever since she became President. Castro thanked President Biden and Vice President Harris for helping to arrange the event.
“This is a humanitarian crisis that requires great effort so that we can guarantee the safety, the dignity and the human rights.”, Castro said.
She said there had been an 17% rise in poverty in the nation. Castro added there had been an unprecedented number of Hondurans that had left the country.
Castro said, “No one leaves their country if they know the risk. Nobody leaves their family and their country, if the conditions are not there. If the conditions for a good life are not there, in their country.”
Castro said it was very important that she come to the area to see what her people had been living through. “It was our responsibility to come see where they stop being numbers, and they become people. We learn the reality of what happens along the journey.”, she said.
President Castro said her government is opening four new consulates and assigning a team of lawyers to immediately assist in cases where children arrive in the United States unaccompanied.
She added that she could use what she learned on this trip to inspire change in Honduras. “We can go back to our countries and have better opportunities, and have a better way of life, so they don’t have to come to this country.”, Castro said.
Mayorkas said Honduras had worked closely with the government to help return Honduran residents who aren’t eligible to stay in the United States. He said the number and frequency of return flights had increased.
Mayorkas said he admired President Castro’s global leadership in championing the welfare of children who are exploited by smugglers for financial gain. “We share a commitment to the enforcement of the law, including the laws that provide humanitarian relief, and the values that underlie them.”, Mayorkas said.
After the meeting, President Castro was scheduled to visit a facility where the Department of Health and Human Services looks after the needs of unaccompanied children encountered at the border.