In El Salvador, the US has purchased IMSI catchers and provided vehicles to support the troops of the Salvadoran Army’s Sumpul Command stationed along their border. In a bold request, one Salvadoran Army commander has called for the US to supply drones to monitor border activity. This request for the same kind of remote sensing technology used during war highlights the reading of the border as a militarized geography by regional leaders. To move through this space means automatically becoming a target of the border security apparatus.
In Honduras, CARSI has funded the training of local forces led by BORTAC, the US Border Patrol Tactical Unit, since 2012. There is also the presence of Joint Task Force Bravo, the only permanently deployed contingency force in the region. Located at Soto Cano Air Base, the US Army-led task force carries out multiple missions related to regional security including humanitarian disaster relief. In a seemingly roundabout acknowledgment of the US’s disruptive role in the region, one of the scenarios the task force trains for is a mass migration event. Additionally, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is also working with Honduras Law Enforcement Affairs agency (INL) to place units in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama.
In Guatemala, the US State Department made payments totaling nearly $500,000 in 2018 through CARSI to Gemalto Cogent, a biometrics company, with the supplies earmarked for use in the country. The US is also involved in training or carrying out the mission of at least seven different task forces in the country.