RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The United States has deported 2,025 people to Guatemala by air from January to May, one of the lowest figures in recent years and the equivalent of a reduction of 83.9% compared to the same period in 2020.
The Guatemalan Migration Institute said Thursday in a statement that of the total number of deportees, 1,873 have been men and 126 women, plus two girls accompanied by a family member and 24 unaccompanied minors.
The figure of 2,025 people deported so far in 2021 is 83.9% less than the 12,575 migrants mandatorily returned by U.S. authorities in 2020 in the same period of time, i.e., the first five months of the year.
During May 2021, 424 people were deported from the US, the highest number of the year, while in January, February, March, and April, 554, 398, 367, and 282 migrants were sent back, respectively.
According to Alejandra Mena, communications director of the Guatemalan Migration Institute, the reduction is because “because of the pandemic,” only one or two flights of deportees are registered weekly.
The forced returns of migrants in 2020 had already represented a 62% decrease to what was reported in 2019, due to the covid-19 pandemic, as 21,057 Guatemalans were deported last year compared to 54,599 in 2019.
Guatemalan authorities have counted 26 flights from the United States with deported migrants from January to May.
According to studies by international organizations, around three million Guatemalans live in the United States, most of them in irregular conditions, and their remittances support 30 percent of the population.
Guatemala plans to build a “protection and attention center for the migrant population” under the responsibility of the Guatemalan Migration Institute in the border city of Tecún Umán, in the department of San Marcos, adjacent to Ciudad Hidago, in Chiapas, Mexico.
Every year more than 300,000 Guatemalans seek to migrate illegally to the United States in search of better living conditions, away from poverty and violence in the Central American country.