Four Guatemalan departments began receiving requests for people seeking to migrate through the Safe Mobility program launched by the governments of the United States and Guatemala with the aim of discouraging irregular migration from Central America.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) informed The Associated Press that at the end of June appointments began to be made and interviews were conducted with people who seek refuge, reunify with their family or obtain visas to reach US territory to establish if they are eligible for the program.
The Care Centers for Migrants and Refugees, located in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Izabal, San Marcos, and Chiquimula, began with online interviews and so far have received just over 1,500 applications to enroll in the program through the website enabled. the IOM reported. The people who have already applied are from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Requests are made through the web Safe Mobility which is administered by the US government, the IOM and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Each applicant must go to the site, register and fill out the online application.
Interested parties must be at least 18 years old, have a valid email and phone number, or have an international data plan. In addition, they will be asked for a stable internet connection, their own digital photos and those of their relatives, as well as a scanned copy or photograph of their identity documents.
According to the website, everyone who is covered by the Central American Free Mobility Agreement (known as CA-4), that is, citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua who are in their countries, can apply. However, “not everyone who requests an evaluation will qualify for or benefit from the program,” the website says.
With the opening of the centers, financed by the United States, Washington tries to order the flow of people in countries like Guatemala that are used as a passage for migrants fleeing poverty and violence in the region.
According to experts, between 300 and 500 Guatemalans flee the country every day. The Guatemalan economy is supported by the remittances that migrants send to the country and which is estimated to reach some 20,000 million dollars this year.
This initiative concurs with termination of Title 42an immigration restriction implemented during the pandemic that immediately expelled migrants who arrived at the US borders without having processed their application, and the decision to maintain Title 8 that toughens the sanctions for those who intend to cross the border without permission.
According to official statistics, more than 60,000 Guatemalans have been deported since 2020, when Title 42 was implemented.