U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of Public Affairs
July 22, 2019
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Government and the Government of Guatemala continue to make important progress on a comprehensive regional approach to addressing irregular migration patterns. The two countries are currently cooperating on several initiatives to reduce the flow of irregular migration and ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable populations, especially children.
Both countries have entered into several agreements, the terms of which foster collaboration to expand the capacity of migrant reception, adjudication of protection claims, shelter, and removal infrastructure. By working cooperatively and with international organizations, both governments will continue to harmonize immigration regulations, synchronize regional immigration systems to ensure migrants and children are not victimized by smugglers, and enhance protection systems and capacity through partnership. The partnership also increases Guatemala’s attractiveness to its own citizens and foreign investors through workforce and infrastructure development.
Additionally, the governments are working toward signing an agreement to provide support for further protections to Guatemalan H-2A workers by developing a registered Foreign Labor Recruiter program to promote transparency and accountability for those who may operate as such in Guatemala. The H-2A Worker Visa Program provides visas for temporary or seasonal agricultural employment. By regulating Foreign Labor Recruiters in Guatemala, the U.S. Government and the Government of Guatemala are increasing protections for those seeking legal employment opportunities in the U.S., achieving a priority objective for Guatemala and mitigating a major factor of irregular migration into the U.S. With this agreement, the U.S. Government would prioritize H-2A visa appointments ahead of other non-immigrant visa categories for Guatemalans and work to develop and coordinate an outreach campaign to promote the H-2A program in partnership with Guatemala’s Ministry of Labor, focusing on the recruitment of qualified workers.
Enhancing protection capacity and expanding access to regular migration avenues in Guatemala will help stem the flow of irregular migration. This goal is being achieved through these agreements and several other initiatives that the U.S. Government and the Government of Guatemala are currently seeking to accomplish together. The U.S. and Guatemala share a common cause in confronting the ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis so that both governments can promote security and prosperity throughout the region. The U.S. Government looks forward to continued partnership with Guatemala to mitigate migratory push factors, bolster capacities, and facilitate regional cooperation. By strengthening the relationship between the two countries through such agreements, the U.S. and Guatemala, as partners, will better protect the most vulnerable populations of Guatemala while confronting irregular migration.
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