Guatemala and the DHS sign a Cooperative Agreement

Guatemala and the DHS sign a Cooperative Agreement

Guatemalan migrants cross the Rio Suchiate in the border with Mexico. Photo-Margo Ugarte, AP

In recent days, the government of Mexico led by Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador (AMLO) agreed to work with the US government to manage immigration flows coming from Central American, through Mexico, to the US.

Mexico pledged to assist with the coordination and hosting of asylum seekers that await US processes.

AMLO’s agreement is based on humanitarian cooperation. The Mexican president has explained Mexico’s efforts to stem its own economic problems so that Mexicans choose Mexico. His government has agreed to collaborate with the United States in a challenging but important negotiation by two neighboring countries with long-standing economic and historic ties, but who differ in approaches to immigration.

AMLO has also stated that to control the bursting immigrant traffic from throughout the Central American region, local investment and collaborations from the US and Canada with the poorest countries in the region will be needed.

Mexico, alone, cannot carry out the US’s Central American immigration policies.

Locked borders that do not address the lack of economic opportunity in the region will fail to manage irregular migration.

Hungry migrants won’t be deterred by gates.

The Mexico-Guatemalan border has been highlighted as a challenging area. AMLO is in the process of sending the National Guard among other social service offices that will be present to take asylum applications for Mexico and help register migrants.

For his part, Kevin MAleenan, the Acting Homeland Security Secretary recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Guatemala Ministry of Government. Both governments will also work together to solve the multitude of factors driving Guatemalan migration to the United States.

According to DHS statistics, more than 109,000 migrants were arrested in April alone.

“I am proud to sign this agreement with Minister Enrique Antonio Degenhart,” McAleenan said. “Through our continued collaboration and partnership, the U.S. and Guatemala are formalizing a number of initiatives to improve the lives and security of our respective citizens by combating human trafficking and the smuggling of illegal goods, helping to limit ‘push’ factors that encourage dangerous irregular migration to the United States, perpetuating the ongoing crisis at our border.”

The agreement commits both nations to joint efforts against human traffic and smuggling, and pledges to promote the Guatemalan local economy through the support of small businesses and public-private partnerships. Local reception to the agreement is mixed. The press, Tiempo Digital, argued that previous agreements of this kind had only focused on security and neglected the development component.

True change is deemed hopeless without it.


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