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Guatemala will host the first of several immigrant centers in Central America for those seeking asylum in the United States, the White House announced on the eve of Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the region.
Without elaborating on the details, an official said in a call with reporters that these immigrant centers will provide assistance to migrants in their countries of origin.
The call focused on the Vice President’s June 6-8 visit to Guatemala and Mexico, where she will meet with the presidents of both countries, Alejandro Giammattei and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, respectively.
She also confirmed that the United States plans to increase the number of border security officials in the region “to provide training” and support the development of “capabilities” for the care of migrants.
Last April, Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Brolo, had anticipated that the arrival of 16 officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would soon be announced in that country to collaborate with local authorities.
Harris will travel first to Guatemala between June 6 and 7 and then to Mexico, from where she will return to the United States on June 8.
In Guatemala, the U.S. Vice President will meet with the President of that country, Alejandro Giammattei, with whom she held a virtual meeting on April 26.
She will also meet in Mexico with the host president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after their virtual meeting on May 7.
Biden left in the hands of Harris the mission of curbing migratory flows and coordinating with Central American countries; however, so far the vice-president has not made the first trip to the border.
According to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 178,120 undocumented immigrants were apprehended crossing the border with Mexico last April, the highest number for that month since 2000.
This number also represented a 3% increase over March, when 173,448 immigrants were intercepted.
The U.S.-Mexico border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.