UPDATED 1:31 PM PT — Thursday, August 22, 2019
Kevin McAleenan recently joined hundreds of officials for discussions on stopping drug trafficking and human smuggling. In Panama City Thursday, the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary said the regional challenges that lie ahead need to be confronted by working together.
Panama has been a global hub for migrants coming from Asia, Africa, and Central America. It has also been used by traffickers, who use the route through the country for cocaine and other narcotics.
“This is a regional challenge — the organizations and the criminal activity we’re trying to confront crosses borders, it doesn’t respect our national sovereignty, and the only way to address that effectively is by working together, not just for information sharing as minister (Rogelio) Rivas (Minister of Security of El Salvador) pointed out, but for concrete operational actions, investigations and interdictions,” stated the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary.
Before his arrival in Panama City, McAleenan said he hoped Colombia and Costa Rica would assist the U.S. on stemming the Central American migration.
I took an operational tour of the Panama Canal and discussed the increasing
strategic importance of the Canal to the economy and national security of the
U.S. I look forward to our continued partnership to strengthen the security of
this vital waterway. pic.twitter.com/xW03SgtiXE
— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) August 22, 2019