U.S. migration authorities resumed May 4 Guatemalan nationals’ deportation, amidst pandemic. Extradition restarts after 2 weeks cease when 40 deportees tested COVID positive.
US Deportations Add Extra Risk to Global Public Health
U.S. functionaries also reviewed Guatemalan health procedures in airports and other facilities for receiving migrant groups. Guatemala's Foreign Affairs Ministry indicated that next week it is expected to receive three flights with about 75 people each. Before returning flights cease, the passenger number was over 100. More flights are scheduled.
Guatemalan authorities agreed on the relocation of migrants under the basis of testing them before departures in U.S. territory. Most deportees proceeded from the most affected U.S. states, like California and Texas. Both states registered 54,937 and 32,332 COVID positive cases respectively.
In April, the Donald Trump administration instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) personnel to evaluate Guatemalan migrants testing for the virus. This measure increased after the Guatemalan government demanded safe migration process.
According to U.S. news media, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been conducting basic health screenings on the deportees but was not regularly testing them for the coronavirus.
“Cuando les enviaban las remesas los felicitaban y alababan. Ahora que regresan deportados, sin ningún dólar en la bolsa, son discriminados y rechazados. ¿Es esto espíritu cristiano? ¿Es esto solidaridad nacional?”
As Guatemalan officials stated the nationals deported from the U.S. account for more than 15% of all infections in the Center American country. On Monday, 76 Guatemalans were repatriated upon arrival after a flight from Houston and immediately underwent medical examinations.
According to local media, the government has taken measures to contain the possible importation of positive cases since the virus outbreak. Among the preventive actions is screening at airports upon arrival of flights. However, these are still not safe for an asymptomatic case.
So far, Guatemala registered 730 positive cases, 19 deaths, and 79 recoveries.