More than 61,000 Guatemalans have been deported by the United States since 2021 under Title 42, which allows the expulsion of irregular migrants for health reasons. This modality came to an end last Thursday, when the last three flights under this measure arrived in Guatemala, according to an official source.
The spokeswoman for the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM), Alejandra Mena, told reporters that from September 2, 2021, to May 11, 2023, a total of 61,433 Guatemalans had been deported under Title 42. In the three most recent flights, 387 Guatemalans arrived, including men, women, and children.
The US planes landed at the Guatemalan Air Force airstrip in the capital, where the deportees were met by IGM personnel to complete reception formalities.
Mena clarified that the termination of Title 42 does not mean the end of deportations, as the individuals will now be returned under Title 8, a more drastic immigration measure that involves undocumented migrants being indefinitely transferred to a processing center.
The termination of this measure is expected to result in an increase in migration flows, both from Guatemalans returning to the country and from foreigners choosing to migrate irregularly through Guatemala.
In 2022, the United States deported 40,713 Guatemalans by air, double the deportations of 17,806 in 2021 and 21,057 in 2020, years in which flights were irregular due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The historical record of deportations from US territory was recorded in 2019, when 54,599 Guatemalans were expelled from the country, according to migration data.
On the other hand, family remittances sent from abroad to Guatemala last year, mostly from the United States, reached a record $18.04 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 18%.
Thousands of Guatemalans migrate irregularly to the United States each year in search of escaping the poverty that affects almost 60% of the country’s 17 million inhabitants, according to official data. The Foreign Ministry estimates that around 2.7 million Guatemalans are in the United States, but only 400,000 have legal documents to work.
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