Guatemala asks the US to decrease the number of deported immigrants
One of the most controversial issues during the current health crisis has been express deportations from the US to Central American countries.
Due to a series of commitments and agreements with the current administration of the US, Guatemala is one of the Central American countries that receives a high number of deportees in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to that, President Trump has repeatedly threatened to implement visa sanctions to countries that refuse to receive deportees during the current juncture.
However, despite threats made by President Trump, Guatemala paused deportations from the US for more than a month and resumed them on June 9, 2020.
The reason why Guatemala temporarily halted deportations is because more than 25% of the positive cases of Coronavirus in the country came from immigrants sent from the US.
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The current reality of deported immigrants
When the Guatemalan government decided to resume deportations and receive immigrants sent from the US, it asked the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) to meet certain requirements before sending deportation flights.
Some of the agreements included, but were not limited to:
- ICE agreed to send medical certificates for each of the immigrants deported from the US to rule out positive cases of Coronavirus.
- The medical personnel were required to do screening on immigrants before deporting them to Guatemala.
However, despite the agreement between the Trump government and Guatemala, dozens of immigrants have tested positive for the nouvelle Coronavirus and are threatening the public health of the Guatemalan population.
Therefore, the Guatemalan foreign ministry published an official statement announcing new limitations and restrictions on deportations from the US.
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The new limitations
In the official statement, the foreign ministry stated: “Due to current restrictions and to not overrun the country’s capacity, there are currently only two weekly flights (deportation flights from the US) with a total of 50 passengers each. This way, we can monitor and track each person before they go to their communities”.
Apart from that, every time Guatemala receives a deportation flight from the US, immigrants must stay 14 days in a provisional shelter built at the airport of the capital of this Central American country.
In this way, the Guatemalan government can monitor immigrants entering the country and prevent them from spreading the virus if they test positive for Coronavirus.
The repercussions for the US
Now, due to these limitations implemented by the Guatemalan government and the current immigration policies of Trump’s government, thousands of Guatemalans must remain in ICE detention centers while they can be deported, and the risk increases in these overcrowded environments.
Thus, multiple critics around the country have asked the Trump administration to review these policies to prevent a massive outbreak of Coronavirus inside ICE facilities.
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