Guatemala to Resume Deportation Flights From US Next Week

Apr 8, 2020
8:47 PM

A young man, wearing a mask to protect himself from the spread of the new coronavirus, prays in front of the closed Candelaria church in Guatemala City, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Moisés Castillo)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s government said Wednesday it will resume receiving deportation flights from the United States next week. It had suspended the flights during Holy Week after three deported Guatemalans later tested positive for COVID-19.

Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs ministry also said the Central American country was preparing temporary reception centers for migrants deported by the U.S. on an air force base so they could be monitored in line with health protocols.

The government had said Tuesday that in spite of its suspension of deportation flights, it had allowed a flight carrying 20 unaccompanied minors to land because it did not want them to be detained for an extended period in the U.S.

Social Welfare Secretary Francisco Molina said that three of the 20 children had been reunited with their families and the rest would be by Thursday.

The Guatemalan Migration Institute said that since January, the United States has deported 210 unaccompanied minors, 970 minors accompanied by a relative, and 10,578 adults.

Guatemala’s total coronavirus case numbers stand at 84, with three deaths.