“Not the plan”: Guatemalan migrants deplore accelerated deportations


GUATEMALA CITY, Aug. 4 (Reuters) – Guatemala has started receiving flights of undocumented migrants returned from the United States under a new policy allowing the expedited deportation of some families at the US-Mexico border, reported the Guatemalan and American authorities announced on Wednesday. .

The measure announced by US officials last week, called “expedited deportation,” applies to families who have not sought asylum in the United States or who do not qualify, and comes as arrests in the United States borders in recent months have peaked in 20 years.

A flight from Brownsville, Texas, arrived in Guatemala Wednesday with 16 families comprising 50 people, including a number of young toddlers carried from the plane in their parents’ arms.

Among the passengers was Marvin Santos, 25, who had traveled to the United States with his wife and 5-year-old daughter, hoping to reunite with relatives already in the United States and lead a better life.

The trip cost him around $ 11,600, which he financed by selling his motorcycle and other goods as well as taking out a bank loan, he said.

After her family entered the United States, they were detained. Within a week, they were tested for COVID-19 and said they would be sent back to Guatemala.

“We started crying because that wasn’t the plan we had… We basically have nothing here, we sold everything,” Santos said in an interview shortly after getting off the plane, as his wife cried beside him.

Family return flights to Guatemala began Friday, with 83 people from Alexandria, Louisiana, and continued Monday with 34 people from Brownsville.

“The message is clear: that they should not migrate. Here in Guatemala, the government is looking after them,” Manuel Rodriguez, director of the Guatemala Migration Institute, said after the third flight landed. in Guatemala City on Wednesday.

The new swift deportation policy, which has also started for Salvadoran and Honduran migrants, comes after US Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala in June, telling migrants “don’t come”.

President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is working to provide more means for Central American migrants to enter the United States legally.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Written by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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