Guatemalans Hopeful for US Immigrant Perk

Seek Protected Status After Tropical Storm

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

GUATEMALA CITY, JUNE 28, 2010 ( As the Guatemalan government continues to work for U.S. designation as a Temporary Protected Status country, one Church official in the Central American country was not optimistic.

Designation as a TPS offers eligible migrants from these countries relief from deportation or forced departure from the United States, and the possibility of legally working there, as well as other benefits. A country can request the designation due to war or natural disasters that would make it hard to cope with a returning influx of migrants.

Guatemala’s neighbors, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, have TPS designation. Though it is a temporary status and must be periodically renewed, Nicaragua and Honduras have had the designation for more than a decade, specifically after 1998 Hurricane Mitch. El Salvador’s designation came in 2001, after two devastating earthquakes.

Guatemala’s president, Álvaro Colom Caballeros, requested the status for his country after tropical storm Agatha took a heavy toll on the nation at the end of May. An answer is expected from the U.S. government within three to six months after reports on the extent of Agatha’s damage are submitted in July.


Father Mauro Verzeletti, secretary of the Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants at the Guatemala bishops’ conference, opined that the «political conditions do not exist» in the United States for TPS status to be granted.

He pointed to what he called a «historical error» in not seeking the designation in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch.

But Edgar Ayala, leader of the Movement of Guatemalan Immigrants in the United States, expressed confidence.

He announced that on Tuesday, a National Day for TPS campaign will begin, in which Guatemalans in the United States and around the world will be invited to urge U.S. President Barack Obama to grant the designation.

It is estimated that there are some 1.5 million Guatemalans in the United States.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation