GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s 15 consuls in the United States are meeting on Thursday with Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales with the aim of finalizing an immigration strategy after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to deport some three million undocumented foreigners.
The meeting at the Foreign Ministry seeks to craft a unified immigration strategy and call upon Guatemalans in the United States to remain calm, although they increasingly feel that their situation there is in danger after the New York magnate’s surprise victory.
Trump built his election campaign on controversial proposals, including erecting a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out illegal migrants, although some experts believe that he will have to moderate his more radical campaign ideas.
On the subject of immigration, the president-elect has said that he will start to deport migrants with criminal records, gangmembers and drug traffickers, a group totaling some three million people.
Last Monday, after that announcement, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador agreed to join forces to protect their citizens and to act jointly with the aim of protecting migrants’ rights in the United States.
The consulates of the four nations in the United States will continue providing information to their citizens regarding their rights, will ask them to obey the law, and will increase dialogue with local authorities and humanitarian organizations with an eye toward having the best communication possible.
Guatemala’s consul in New York, Pablo Garcia, said that his countrymen in the United States are being asked to remain “calm ... so that they don’t make a mistake,” given that right now it’s not clear what the new president will do.
So far this month, some 9,000 people have come to the consulates, many of them feeling tremendously “uncertain” about what’s going to happen to them under the new U.S. administration.
Estimates are that some three million Guatemalans live in the United States and some 800,000 of them are undocumented.
Morales said that the aim of the meeting with the consuls is to discuss a roadmap for defending migrants in the United States, despite limited funds.