The deportations of Guatemalans who are detained in Mexico have doubled this year compared to 2020, which makes analysts think that this country may become the wall that the United States needs to prevent migrants from reaching its southern border and unleash a humanitarian crisis, as has happened in other years.
Along with the increase in these returns, the United States recently implemented a program through which it is sending Central Americans by air to the south of Mexico so that from there they return to their countries of origin.
The Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM) reported that from January to July of this year, 24,797 nationals were deported who were detained while in transit through Mexico, 109 percent more than the 11,854 that were learned in the same period. from last year.
On the other hand, returns from the United States in the first seven months of the year fell drastically in relation to the same period of 2020. Thus, while last year 13 thousand 769 people were deported, from January to July of this year only they accounted for 2,668, 80% less.
However, the number of deportations is nowhere near the huge number of Guatemalan migrants who have arrived this year at the southern border of the United States, approximately 190 thousand, among single adults, unaccompanied minors and family units.
What happens is that the vast majority of them are being returned to Mexico without receiving normal immigration treatment.
This is due to Title 42, a regulation that the US imposed at the beginning of last year to prevent coronavirus infections. This measure, accepted by the Mexican government, is one of the few legacies of former President Donald Trump on immigration matters that current President Joe Biden maintains in force.
As if that were not enough, recently in a new show of collaboration between these countries to contain irregular migration, the United States began to deport migrants by air to the southern border of Mexico with Guatemala in an effort to discourage recidivism of the crossings. .
These migrants enter Guatemalan territory without registering. News agencies have collected testimonies from some of them who, they say, when they arrived in the United States, they did not even have the opportunity to request asylum because they suffer persecution in their countries of origin.
During a visit to the southern border on August 12, the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, Alejandro Mayorkas, acknowledged that on July 29, the “collaborative migration management strategy” was launched.
He spoke of implementing “other measures” to stop the recidivism of illegal entry into the US He said they have deployed additional personnel to the southern border and that “we have increased migrant flights” and that these “are increasingly moving to interior of Mexico ”since trying to re-enter the US from there is more difficult. He added that this is done in collaboration with that country.
“We are working with Mexico to increase the interdictions,” warned Mayorkas.
They are unaware of deportations
Until last Friday, the Guatemalan authorities were unaware of any new plans by the United States and Mexico to return Central American migrants to Guatemala. The Casa del Migrante in El Ceibo, Petén, was full of people who had been deported with a stopover in Villahermosa, Tabasco.
The Communication Office of the Foreign Ministry said that the information it knew was thanks to what the media have published, but that it had already requested official information from Mexico and the United States.
For its part, the IGM reported that to “address the problems that originate at the border posts,” meetings are being coordinated between different Guatemalan institutions. He reported that in these the deputy director general of Migration, Wuelmer Gómez, has shown “his concern about the situation since the rights of migrants and current regulations are violated.”
“Worse than safe third country”
Defenders of the rights of migrants strongly pointed out that, with the increase in arrests of migrants en route to the United States, plus this new deportation plan, Mexico is becoming the wall where Central American migrants collide.
They criticized that returning them under Title 42, without the possibility of exposing their asylum cases and to a remote location, such as El Ceibo, in Petén, is worse than the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that the Trump administration had signed with Guatemala.
“This is worse because before the Honduran and Salvadoran migrants brought them to the capital, now to the Petén jungle,” said José Luis González, a member of the Jesuit Network with Migrants. “There is the organized crime that controls the border of Petén,” he remarked.
“This fact makes the alliance between Mexico even more serious, always obeying the US, before with Trump and now with Biden,” added González, who urged the Central American governments to protest “if they wanted to defend their citizens.” .
“This demands unity and courage from the Central American governments in the face of the migratory phenomenon, to demand, not handouts, but the human rights of their citizens, recognized at an international level,” he stressed.
For his part, Juan José Hurtado, director of the Pop Noj Association, part of the Articulating Group of Civil Society on Migration matters, was concerned that with these actions “the wall of Mexico is being reinforced to stop migration to the United States. . ”.
This barrier, he stressed, is not only on the southern border since it is located throughout the Mexican territory where there are countless police and army checkpoints to detect migrants who travel irregularly.
Hurtado agreed that, with the new US deportation system by scales, Guatemala will take on the role of a safe third country that had been criticized so much when the ACA was signed in 2019, and regretted that through these processes of express expulsion violates due process and the right to international protection.