Guatemala Cracks Down on Illegal Immigration

By Jason Peña on July 15, 2019

Guatemala is taking a more active approach to immigration enforcement. The Guatemalan news website, La Prensa, reports the National Civil Police (PNC) of Guatemala conducted a nationwide deportation operation between July 3rd-July 5th. Titled "Operation Gobernanza", it is an enforcement strategy devised by the Ministry of the Interior to quell the migrant flow stemming from the rest of Latin America and other regions of the world. The enforcement effort netted the arrests and eventual deportations of approximately 259 migrants over the three-day period. 

The initial operation effort yielded 109 migrant detentions. Of the 109 persons detained, 44 were from Honduras, 23 from El Salvador, 3 from Mexico, 25 from Haiti, 5 from Cameroon, and 6 from Bangladesh. It is believed that 12 minors were included in the group. Based on the information provided from the PNC, their enforcement attempts were heavily focused in the Western region of Guatemala. The border communities in Western Guatemala are well-known for migrant routes heading toward the United States.

Univision reports, based on official statistics released by the PNC, that Guatemala experienced a 68.7 percent increase in migrant flow through its territory in the first six months of 2019, compared to the first six months of 2018. Over 2,251 illegal immigrants have been detained in the first half of 2019. In 2018, authorities apprehended 1,494 migrants.

President Donald Trump’s decision to cease financial aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador has caused strain for the Northern Triangle nations. Reports indicate that the United States and Guatemala are now in negotiations to find a solution to the migrant crisis. Similarly, recent negotiations between the United States and Mexico has resulted in increased immigration enforcement by Mexico authorities.