Guatemala Facts

Guatemala Facts

The National Palace of Guatemala in Guatemala City. (David Amsler)
  • Guatemala is a nation of 15 million people, immediately south of Mexico.
  • Guatemala shares an approximately 595-mile border with Mexico, with 11 formal and countless informal crossings.
  • Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador comprise the Northern Triangle.

Lawlessness and resulting violence and poverty drive people out of the Northern Triangle and make migration controls unenforceable at the Guatemala-Mexico border.

The Hill:

Violence in the Northern Triangle, tied to weak governance and its strategic location for the drug trade, has led to almost 10 percent of the region’s population leaving, according to a report by the Council for Foreign Relations.

Pew:

Although Mexico is the nation of origin for by far the most unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., three neighboring Central American countries — El Salvador (700,000 in 2014), Guatemala (525,000) and Honduras (350,000) — also are among the top five.

Pew:

According to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, the number of apprehensions of people from nations other than Mexico rose sharply in 2014, to 257,000, and for the first time it surpassed the number from Mexico. They included thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America, many of whom were fleeing poverty and violence, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The porous border attracts immigrants from around the world to pass through Guatemala en route to the United States.

Reuters:

Many migrants from Africa fly to Ecuador and Brazil where few visa restrictions allow an easy point of entry into the Americas.… Hundreds now turn up every day. Last year between 150 to 700 African migrants arrived per day at Tapachula — with a total of 19,000 migrants arriving from Africa and Haiti in 2016 — according to Mexican government figures.

The Trump administration is attempting to address these problems.

Reuters:

It was one of the first known meetings between U.S. and Mexican officials since Trump became president in Januaryhe talks focused on Mexico’s commitment to securing its southern border to keep out criminals and illegal immigrants.… U.S. Northern Command spokesman Michael Kucharek confirmed [US officials] visited Mexico on Tuesday as part of “continued coordination in partner nation security,” adding that the two also went to Honduras and Guatemala.

The United States has allocated $750 million in aid to the Northern Triangle for 2017, and that money will go to waste until Guatemala has the rule of law.