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In Guatemala, a Steep Climb for Returning Migrants

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 79969
Category/Department: Guatemala
Date: 2016-05-05
By: Janelle Conaway

Flights chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement land almost every weekday in Guatemala City, bringing back Guatemalan citizens who have been working in the US without documents—or at least trying to. These days, many more Guatemalan migrants are deported by land from Mexico before they ever reach US soil. What happens to those who return, once they’re back in their homeland? Many of them, faced with crushing debt and few opportunities, head back north. Others try to make a go of it at home, but they have little support. A few groups are trying to make it easier for people to stay, but it’s an uphill climb. Migration experts talk about “push” and “pull” factors—the myriad of reasons that drive people from their place of origin and draw them elsewhere. “It’s an accumulation of factors, not necessarily A, B, or C,” said Jorge Peraza Breedy, the International Organization for Migration’s chief of mission for the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It’s important to address the needs of those who are returned to their country, he said in an interview with NotiCen, “so that they do not feel the need to emigrate again.” In other words, he added, not leaving also has to become a viable alternative.

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