Guatemala is facing an influx of African immigrants on their way to the United States, having caught 56 times more so far in 2016 than they did in all of 2015.
Only 13 African immigrants were caught in Africa in all of 2015, and by September 2, 2016 729 Africans had been caught by Guatemalan authorities, La Prensa reports. The majority of the African immigrants are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Senegal, and Somalia.
The country is facing an increase of immigrants in general. In 2015, the national police reported 1,131 immigrants caught from various countries. By August 29, 2016, they had intercepted 2,514 immigrants, an increase of 122.2 percent.
Jorge Pereza Breedy, head of the International Organization for Migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Hondoras, said that changes in the situation in Europe has led these immigrants to come to Central America. “The saturation of the transit route in Europe and the increase in border security is one of the principal factors in the increase of Asian and African emigrants in Central America,” Breedy told La Prensa.
The African immigrants aren’t in Guatemala to stay there and instead are making there way northward towards Mexico and the United States. “It’s not that they want to come to this country to stay, they want to get to the United States,” Danilo Rivera of the Central American Institute for Social and Development Studies said to La Prensa. (RELATED: Mexico Shipping Hundreds Of Illegal Africans To US Border)
Recently, El Salvadoran authorities busted a human smuggling ring which generated $150,000 a year bringing immigrants illegally to the United States from Brazil.