The President-elect of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, will be inaugurated tomorrow, January 14, 2020 and the United States government is already embedded in the transition process and the new government. The Guatemalan inauguration will be led by US Commerce Secretary WiIlbur Ross. Other delegates from the United States whose attendance President Trump announced include Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, and Adam Boehler, the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S International Development Finance Corporation.
The United States has a significant interest in the new leaders of Guatemala because of the country’s increased involvement in US immigration policies.
Over the first few days of 2020 alone, 465 Guatemalans were deported from the US and sent back to Guatemala. The Guatemalan periodical, La Voz de Xela, cites, reported:
Durante el 2019 Guatemala recibio un total de 102 mil 864 deportados por la via aerea y terrestre, un aumento del 11.5 por ciento con respecto a 2018.
In 2019, a total of 102,864 deported Guatemalans were sent back by air and land, an increase of 11.5 percent from 2018.
Immigration agreements are now especially important as the Department of Homeland Security announced that asylum seekers who are Mexican citizens may be sent south to Guatemala. This deal falls under the already existing Asylum Cooperative Agreement (ACA) which was formed in July 2019 with not only Guatemala, but also El Salvador and Honduras. The ACA was originally meant to send migrants from Central America back to another Central American country.
The Department of Homeland Security claims that these ACA agreements “will allow migrants to seek protection within the region by facilitating cooperation between the US and host nation governments or international organizations to expand their systems for offering humanitarian protections.”
However, several groups strongly oppose these regulations including Refugees International which says ACA agreements are not “an attempt to share the responsibility of protection between countries, but [are] an effort by the United States to shift that responsibility to countries less able to bare it.”
These agreements, and similar partnerships, as reported recently in Revolution English, were negotiated with the previous administration under President Jimmy Morales. Now, it is up to the new administration and president to decide if the US can enact its new policy of sending Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala.