On June 22-23, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas visited Madrid, Spain to meet key partners in the Government of Spain, and to address issues of mutual importance in furtherance of shared security priorities. While in Madrid, Secretary Mayorkas met individually with Vice-President and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation Nadia Calviño; Spanish Minister of Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska; and Director of the Department of National Security Miguel Ángel Ballesteros Martín.
“I am very proud of the close partnership the United States and Spain share, and I look forward to our continued work together,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “We will work with our Spanish partners to address the shared challenges our nations face, including domestic terrorism and ransomware attacks.”
Secretary Mayorkas and Minister Grande-Marlaska explored opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and Spain, to include joint efforts to manage migration, address root causes of irregular migration, and combat domestic violent extremism. They also discussed ways to cooperatively bolster critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity, including ransomware and 5G security.
Secretary Mayorkas and Vice-President Calviño also identified opportunities to further bilateral U.S.-Spain cooperation in the area of cybersecurity, including through expert-to-expert dialogue and information sharing.
Secretary Mayorkas and Director Ballesteros spoke about national security challenges, including the threat of domestic violent extremism, ransomware attacks, and disinformation campaigns. They explored the expansion of information sharing and cooperation in the areas of counterterrorism and combatting transnational criminal organizations.
Secretary Mayorkas participated in a roundtable exchange with four Spanish NGOs to hear their perspectives about the migration challenges Spain has faced and lessons for the United States. The participating NGOs included Refugees Welcome Spain, ACCEM (Asociación Comisión Católica Española de Migraciones), CEAR (Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado), and APRAMP (Asociacion para la Prevencion, Reinsercion y Atencion a la Mujer Prostituida). Secretary Mayorkas praised the critical role civil society plays in countering human trafficking, restoring migrants’ dignity, and welcoming refugees into society.
Finally, Secretary Mayorkas met with the DHS workforce assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and expressed his appreciation for their service.
Earlier this week, Secretary Mayorkas was in Portugal to represent the United States alongside the Department of Justice at the biannual U.S.-EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Ministerial. The United States and the European Union released a joint statement following the Ministerial. While in Portugal, Secretary Mayorkas also met bilaterally with counterparts from the European Commission and the Government of Portugal. This is Secretary Mayorkas’ first trip to Europe since taking office in February.