Posted on November 13, 2020

Guatemala Asks for U.S. Amnesty for Its 700,000-Plus Migrants

Neil Munro, Breitbart, November 10, 2020

Guatemala’s government is asking the U.S. government to let roughly 700,000 Guatemalan migrants stay in the United States because of massive flooding that has killed 150 people in the poor country.

Reuters reported Guatemala’s plan to ask for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for its migrants. If granted, the status would allow Guatemala’s illegal migrants to stay and work in the United States, regardless of the high unemployment and low wages among many unskilled Americans:


Guatemala’s government knows that Trump opposes the TPS program and has ordered the cancellation of TPS for hundreds of thousands of migrants who have stayed in the United States for almost two decades.

But the Guatemala request is likely aimed at Joe Biden, who has promised to welcome poor migrants who simply ask for asylum, regardless of the painful impact on Americans.

If granted, the governments of Honduras and El Salvador will also pressure the U.S. government to grant TPS amnesty to their migrants.

Since 2016, roughly 662,432 Guatemalans were registered while crossing the border. The vast majority used border loopholes to semi-legally migrate into the United States, usually by claiming asylum. Few of the migrants have been sent home, even after their temporary legal status has expired.

The Guatemalan migrant population includes 278,566 single adults, 294,263 adults with children, plus another 89,583 children or teens delivered by coyotes at the border from 2016 to 2020.

The 2016 to 2020 number does not include the additional number of Guatemalans who successfully marched around the border defenses via the desert and scrubland, nor the 30,649 Guatemalan teens or children relayed by the coyotes in 2014 and 2015, nor the 16,090 Guatemalan teens and children relayed from 2009 to 2013, nor the 57,160 nationals from Guatemala detained in 2015.

Some Guatemalans have been sent home, especially in 2020. But because there is no clear list of resident Guatemalans that would ask for TPS, many additional Guatemalans would likely migrate north to sneak into the TPS benefit.


Immigration advocates claim the TPS is temporary.

However, Trump’s effort to cancel TPS for roughly 300,000 migrants were delayed and blocked by multiple judges. Roughly 250,000 people from El Salvador still told TPS status, 19 years after it was awarded following a major earthquake in 2001.

In 2020, Trump expanded the El Salvadorean TPS status, likely in exchange for El Salvador’s government’s promise to block other migrants.

TPS advocates also say the TPS is not an amnesty, even though it provides almost everything short of citizenship to poor migrants. Many of the El Salvador migrants crossed into the United States in the 1980s.