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article imageTop US official to meet Salvadoran, Honduran leaders on migration

By AFP     Jul 1, 2019 in World

The US head of homeland security will hold migration talks with the presidents of El Salvador and Honduras beginning Monday, after a viral photo of a drowned father and daughter shone a harsh spotlight on the crisis at the US-Mexican border.

Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of US immigration policy, will discuss "continued collaboration in addressing the root causes of irregular migration" among other topics, the department said.

A shocking photo of the lifeless bodies of Salvadorans Oscar Alberto Martinez, who was 25, and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria lying face down in the Rio Grande river separating Mexico from the United States fueled outrage around the world, with some blaming the US crackdown on border crossings for their deaths.

The two were buried in a private ceremony in the capital of San Salvador on Monday.

McAleenan was to attend a bilateral meeting with El Salvador President Nayib Bukele on Monday, meeting the following day with the country's minister for justice and public security, Rogelio Rivas, for talks on security and migration.

While in El Salvador McAleenan will also attend the first meeting of the Bilateral Migration Task Force, which seeks to adopt a comprehensive governmental approach to address irregular migration.

He will travel on to Palmerola, Honduras, where he will meet Tuesday with President Juan Orlando Hernandez to review issues related to migration and security, according to DHS.

More than 144,000 migrants, most of them Central Americans seeking asylum, were detained at the US southern border in May, although the Department of Homeland Security expects their number to drop by 25 percent in June, in part due to Mexican efforts to stem the flow.

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