WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Guatemala’s ambassador to the United States, Manuel Alfredo Espina, Tuesday to discuss how the U.S.-Guatemala border security partnership has contributed to the reduced number of apprehensions along the border.
“I am grateful for Guatemala’s willingness to work with the United States on common sense solutions to the current migration crisis at our southern border," Sen. Johnson said. “Guatemala has made important strides in tackling the criminal organizations at the core of the problem. I look forward to continuing and strengthening these efforts going forward.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is coordinating with the government of Guatemala to combat human smuggling and child exploitation by sharing law enforcement resources and information. This includes a memorandum of cooperation to address irregular migration and a separate memorandum on border security and information exchange.
Guatemala has signed an asylum cooperative agreement with the United States stating that any non-Guatemalan migrant transiting through Guatemala must seek asylum there first rather than in the United States. Guatemala will soon begin receiving the first foreign national returns from other Central American nations. Following the signing of this agreement, the United States has begun to release certain targeted aid to Guatemala.
In addition, Guatemala and the United States have signed an agreement concerning the Temporary Agricultural Workers Program, or H2A, to help facilitate legal immigration to the United States. The American Farm Bureau is actively involved in this program to help match workers with farmers.