GUATEMALA CITY: Foreign ministers from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico have vowed to “defend” migrants from those countries who live in the United States, amid uncertainty following Donald Trump’s election.
The US president-elect vowed to crack down on immigration during the bitter presidential campaign, promising to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and deport millions of undocumented migrants.
“We have agreed on the need to convey a message of calm and tranquility to our civilians, to reaffirm that we will be closer than ever to accompany and defend them,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu, speaking with her colleagues in Guatemala City on Monday.
The ministers said they would bolster their consular presence in various US cities and seek the support of local organizations and authorities to defend migrants’ rights.
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales said the actions are not intended to “push the panic button”—as US immigration policies have not yet changed — but rather “they are measures to be alert.”
The ministers also said they wanted to “have the best relationship” with Trump, who will take office January 20.
“Every one of us has the confidence, the commitment and the willingness to work to strengthen relations with the United States and guarantee the rights of our compatriots,” said Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez.
He indicated that they would continue to work with the incoming US government on the so-called Northern Triangle’s Alliance for Prosperity—a project for tackling poverty and security issues that fuel illegal migration.
The foreign ministers did not comment on Trump’s vow to erect a wall on the US-Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.
According to official estimates, some six million migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras live in the US—the majority of them without legal residence—while about 34 million Mexicans call the US home.
The economies of the three Central American countries known as the Northern Triangle depend heavily on remittances that migrants send back to their families. AFP