The Guatemalan government wants the Biden administration to know it will not house illegal immigrants after the end of Title 42.
On April 27, 2023, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. would build migrant processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia to support the flow of migrants expected to surge at the Mexican border when Title 42 ends on May 11, 2023. Guatemala is concerned about the likely overflow of migrants and the effects of the U.S.’s new policies.
“We just want to make something clear: we are not going to be a safe third country. … However, we remain the only ally to the United States in terms of immigration enforcement because Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the rest of Central America, they are just letting everyone pass through,” President Alejandro Giammattei’s spokesperson, Kevin Lopez Oliva told the Daily Caller.
“But we are still stopping the caravans, we’re still enforcing our laws in our borders,” Lopez Olivia added.
Giammattei told the Daily Caller that Guatemala previously asked the Biden administration to supply them with planes and buses to deport immigrants, but the administration denied their request.
“Last year, we increased the penalties for the human smuggling, and human smugglers know this, and therefore, the caravans are forming in Mexico, not in Guatemala. But we need more help definitely. And we are expecting an influx of people coming due to the lifting of the Title 42 and we’re doing our best but we cannot do it alone,” Lopez Olivia said.
“We’re preparing with sending our military forces to the border, the police is already in the other border as well in order to stop caravans,” he added.
On April 25, 2023, the head of Guatemala’s information agency sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to provide more resources to help the country with the expected migrant surge.
According to the letter, Guatemalan authorities restricted entry to approximately 4,000 migrants between January and April 16 of 2023. The country accepted about 12,000 Guatemalan migrants that were returned under Title 42.
The letter called on U.S. agencies to assist Guatemala in its “irregular migratory flows” and to continue strengthening the work of the Guatemalan Institute of Migration to reduce the large number of migrants headed for the U.S.
As Guatemala braces for an expected migrant surge, so does the U.S. In border cities across from Mexico, the U.S. is already experiencing what may come after the end of Title 42. The mayor of El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency regarding the migrant situation.
Migrants scramble for supplies as El Paso declares a state of emergency. pic.twitter.com/CDzDgfBN9r
— Gabe Gutierrez (@gabegutierrez) May 3, 2023
“We’re getting prepared now for what we call the unknown,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said. “And the unknown is what will happen after May 11.”