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Should the US suspend Guatemalan deportations in light of the recent earthquake?

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• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, centralamericanpolitics.blogspot.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

According to Guatemalan officials, deportations of Guatemalans deported from the United States increased by 14 percent so far this year.

Guatemalan deportations from the USA increased this year by 14 percent, while President Otto Perez Molina has asked his counterpart Barack Obama to stop the repatriations due to the impact of the earthquake. According to reports today from the Department of Immigration, two flights filled with migrants arrived last Friday, the same day that Perez testified that he signed an official letter to send Obama, in which he discussed the critical situation arising from the recent earthquake and asks that returns to Guatemala be curbed.

From the 35,196 repatriated, 32,273 are adult men, 2,387 women, 499 boys and 37 are girls, said the source.

At the headquarters of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, the head of state said on November 9 that he was also urging Obama to grant migrants Temporary Protected Status.

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Here's what I wrote in October 2011 and, for the most part, in 2010. It should still hold.

Here's an idea. The President should extend Temporary Protected Status to our Guatemalan neighbors so that the country can better recover from these natural disasters without the additional challenge of dealing with the deportation of thousands of their countrymen.

TPS isn't a magical solution to the migratory challenge that confronts the US and Latin American and its southern neighbors. However, it is one tool that the executive branch has at its disposal right now and can make a real difference in the lives of millions of people in Guatemala and the United States.

Now that the elections are over and President Obama and Republican members of congress ... are talking about comprehensive immigration reform, extending TPS to Guatemalan nationals living in the US seems a bit more likely.

Mike Allison is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and a member of the Latin American and Women's Studies Department at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.  You can follow his Central American Politics blog here.


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