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HomeCentral AmericaGuatemalaGuatemala and US Launch 'Secure Mobility Offices' to Tackle Migration

Guatemala and US Launch ‘Secure Mobility Offices’ to Tackle Migration

Guatemala and the United States announced on Wednesday the operation as of June 12 of the “Secure Mobility Offices” in the Central American country, a pilot program that seeks to curb illegal migration.

The announcement follows a visit to Guatemala by a “high-level” delegation of U.S. officials led by Phil Gordon, national security advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris, the two governments said in a joint statement.

“Guatemala and the United States of America announce a comprehensive program for irregular migration, including as a first step the implementation of the six-month pilot phase (of the) ‘Secure Mobility Offices,'” the text indicated.

The program “will facilitate access to legal pathways to the United States and other countries, family reunifications and access to temporary work visas. As of June 12, 2023, these offices will begin accepting appointments through the website,” the statement added, without specifying the areas of the country where they will operate.

At the end of April, the U.S. government announced the creation of migrant care centers in Guatemala and Colombia as part of the end of Title 42, a measure that expired on May 11 and that allowed for quick deportations supposedly to curb covid-19.

A day after the end of Title 42, the Secretary of Communication of the Guatemalan Presidency, Kevin Lopez, told journalists that they feared an increase in irregular migration and the possible concentration of migrants in the country to go to the centers announced “unilaterally” by the United States.

“We anticipate a very strong humanitarian situation in which it would challenge the logistical capabilities of the State of Guatemala to house people while they await their refugee procedure” in the United States, said Lopez on that occasion.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, both governments “jointly committed to take a series of critical steps to humanely reduce irregular migration and expand legal routes,” the statement said.

Guatemala, in addition to being the country of origin of thousands of people who migrate to the United States each year, is a transit territory for migrants of other nationalities who are also fleeing poverty or violence in their countries.

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