Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence visited El Salvador from August 9-10, 2019. The purpose of the acting director’s visit was to discuss ICE enforcement priorities and the agency’s commitment to dismantle networks involved in human smuggling.
Albence’s agenda included meetings with U.S. Embassy officials to talk about immigration and security topics. He also visited the Care Center for Migrants to observe actions the Salvadoran government is taking regarding repatriations and reintegration of returnees to a productive life. During his visit, he met with Foreign Affairs Minister Alexandra Hill to discuss topics of common interest and specific actions to stop illegal immigration.
The acting director took advantage of his visit to El Salvador to warn about the dangers of illegal immigration to the United States, especially because of the human smuggling networks that operate at the border. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has detected a wave of fraudulent families that have recently attempted to cross the border illegally. Mr. Albence stressed ICE’s commitment dismantling criminal organizations and highlighted the agency’s efforts to protect children and prevent them from becoming smuggling victims.
Between mid-April and July 26, 2019, HSI interviewed 3,236 suspected family units, identifying 432 fraudulent families. Additionally, agency officials seized 1,043 fraudulent documents; 833 people were presented for prosecution, from which 719 were accepted; and 70 child imposters were put on trial. This is about multiple cases of single adult men that attempt to cross the border as unaccompanied minors with fake birth certificates. For example, the HSI team identified a 23-year-old Honduran man, who declared being 17 years old when he was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol.
As ICE’s senior law enforcement official, Mr. Albence executes oversight of ICE’s day-to-day operations and oversees a workforce of more than 20,000 officers, special agents, attorneys, and mission support professionals assigned to more than 400 domestic and international offices, with a budget of more than $7 billion. Prior to his selection as Acting Director, Mr. Albence served as the agency’s Deputy Director, selected for this position in August 2018 to lead the United States’ vital immigration enforcement efforts. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Albence served as the agency’s Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations.