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U.S. deportations of Guatemalans via air dwindle for second year of pandemic -Breaking


© Reuters. After arriving from the United States, Guatemalan deportees line up outside a government immigration facility in Guatemala City. They were there to be deported. REU


By David Toro

GUATEMALA CITY – With the end of three last deportation flights by Guatemalans, the United States marked a new year with a steady fall in the number of Central American migrants returning to their country in 2021.

Through 184 flights, 17,806 Guatemalan citizens were deported to America this year. According to the data of the Guatemalan Institute of Migration (IGM), almost 4,000 of those deported were minors.

This year saw a 38% drop in air-returned people compared to the 2019 numbers of 54,599 Guatemalan deportees. The United States returned 21,057 persons in 2020 after some flights were cancelled.

Gerson Sanchez is a northern Guatemalan merchant of 40 years old. He said that he had been arrested along with 23 other people in December as they tried to cross into Texas via the Mexican state Tamaulipas. On Tuesday, he was deported from McAllen in Texas with 125 others.

Sanchez stated, “It was my first attempt to travel to the United States for work. But after that bad experience at the detention center in which I was held, it is not something I would do again.”

According to Ursula Roldan (a Guatemalan migration expert), despite the decline in US air deportations, the problem at the south border is worsening. Record numbers of migrants are arriving in the hope of crossing.

Trump’s containment policies have caused this. Roldan stated that this is a concern because border areas are areas of high risk from human trafficking, drug trafficking, and people are being trapped there.

The number of Guatemalans who were deported by land from Mexico in 2021 was double that of the year before. IGM had 1,194 buses that carried 40,696 passengers, which is a significant increase from the 22,901 persons deported in 2020.

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