The Guatemalan foreign ministry announced that 13 minors, who were arrested in the United States along with their mothers, were repatriated to Guatemala. In a July 22 statement, the foreign ministry said that among those deported by the U.S. were two infants who have not yet reached the age of one year. The remainder of the minors range in age from two to 12 years. They arrived in Guatemala via air from the U.S. All of them are originally from the western highland region of the Central American republic, specifically the provinces of San Marcos, Huehuetenango, and Quetzaltenango, which are close to the Mexican border.
The jet carrying the 113 deportees arrived at noon on July 22, having come from New Mexico. The children were accompanied by their mothers. At the military installations at Guatemala’s Aurora Airport, the repatriated Guatemalans were received by personnel from the Foreign Ministry and Immigration where they were documented. The Guatemalan foreign ministry said that the minors and their mothers were given a medical evaluation, as well as any psychological counseling required.
This is the second group of Guatemalan minors to have been deported directly from the U.S. On July 18, a group of seven minors and their mothers were received in Guatemala. It was because these minors were accompanied by a parent, read the Guatemalan statement, that they were subjected to immediate deportation by U.S. authorities with no chance of obtaining an immigration court hearing. Unaccompanied minors, however, are given 90 days to appear before an immigration judge. Since there are so many such minors, some are being sent away for housing in facilities outside of the border region. Michigan, for example, is among the states slated to receive illegal unaccompanied minors awaiting adjudication and processing.
This week, the foreign ministers of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, are meeting with State Department officials in Washington DC to discuss the current immigration crisis.