Guatemala: What Does the Future Hold in 2008 for My Deported Paisanos?

By Mayra Beltran de Daetz

GUATEMALA: Last year, Guatemala received about 185,000 Guatemalans who were living in the United States illegally and deported by the U.S. government. In January 2008, 1,500 Guatemalans were deported from the United States.
Apparently, there is no possibility that the Congress of the USA will return to address the subject of my fellow Guatemalans immigrating illegally during 2008.
Many of those deported returned home with their dreams crushed. For these people, their stay in the USA may have been too short to turn the mythical “American Dream” into reality.
Others, as indicated in interviews with the press, returned to Guatemala satisfied. These lucky ones, after many years of arduous work were able to send money to their families, build a house and afford to pay for schooling for their children.
But what about the future?
How will these people be able to survive in a Guatemala that has 2008 beginning with a change in government?
It is something that worries everybody.


If the Guatemalans, who have always been here in Guatemala, are already affected by inflation, violence, the lack of security and an unemployment crisis where in most homes at least one member is unemployed, how will these 185,000 newly returned Guatemalans survive themselves and provide for their families now?
As everything is different from the angle from which you see it…I understand that these people have committed a crime in the eyes of the government of the USA, but as we say, “they are a necessary bad.”
Since these people do jobs that the Americans do not like to do and in one way or another, have helped Americans throughout history by contributing to the growth of their economy, I do not understand why the subject is not discussed and an attempt to come to a solution from both sides is not made.
From another angle — human rights are being violated. They are separating the children from their parents, and I cannot imagine the anguish these families are living by being separated from their children.
Not to mention that no one cares about the pain, diseases and other calamities that afflict the people in the enclosures (detention facilities) in which they are forced to stay until the moment arrives for them to be removed from the USA like flea-infested dogs.

It is estimated that each year 40,000 Guatamaltecos arrive illegally in the United States in search of improving their lives.
(Source: Nacional)

However, thousands of solutions to the problem exists — such as creating certain types of allowances for these people.
Yet, the basic problem is the attitude of the very people who are in charge of arriving at solutions. Because of how they insist on seeing these workers without papers, they have not considered such solutions as giving temporary work visas depending on the state, or the type of work they do, or even paying a symbolic sum to allow them to work in the United States for a year.
There is a mutual benefit for the person that “needs” to work and for the people who need that somebody to do the “heavy work.”
This could be a solution for the employer and the employee who will be able to work without fear that they are committing any crime.
I see with certain sadness a racial discrimination, since basically the deportations that are listed are from Latin America. I don’t hear that the U.S. government deports many people of other nationalities.
My wish is that in 2008 these people (in Guatemala), who do not have work, find a job that provides them and their families the basic necessities, so that the crime and maras (gangs) do not continue growing out of control.
Also, that our new government addresses the issues of poverty, hunger and the lack of security in our country.
It would be fantastic if the government of the U.S.A. could address the subject of illegal immigration and find a solution so that all these people who still believe in the “American Dream” do not lose faith.
In this way, they would be able to come out ahead and those families that are now separated can be reunited.
It is important to remember that the family is the base of every healthy society and that a family must be together… not the children in one country and the parents in another.
Learn more about Mayra:
Mayra Etna Beltrán Molina de Daetz is a native-born Guatemalan who lives in Guatemala City with her husband and teenage son. After attending one of the most noted secretarial schools in the country, Mayra graduated with a secretarial certification — and the ability to speak and write English, as well as, know French.
Yet, she wanted more of a career and so she took architect and graphic design classes at a local university in Guatemala City. Unable to finish her university studies due to finances, Mayra became a stewardess and has over 100 hours in the air.
Yet, she always wanted to be involved with the media and so she returned to school and was able to get a degree in sales and marketing.
As a result, she has worked for a weekly magazine and a newspaper.

I have had opportunity to attend International congresses, in which I have known very important people at the more important international newspapers, which has been a very gratifying experience and has allowed me to have friendships outside of my country.

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3 Comments

  1. SS said:

    I just wanted to ask you a few questions and to bring your attention to some points, which might help people see the other side of the story:
    1. How would Guatemalans feel if people from their neighboring countries started illegally migrating to Guatemala and taking up the few jobs available there? Would Guatemalans give work-visas to such people who, at the first place, broke their laws and entered their country illegally?
    2. Illegal immigrants use the roads, water, hospitals, transportations, public schools and many such likes without paying ANYTHING in taxes. Is it not an extra burden on the tax-paying, hardworking citizens of the US? Why should they pay for people who are earning US dollars, sending money back to their home countries, and are putting extra pressure on the local economy without paying taxes?
    3. Not all Americans are rich. They have their own problems of paying for their education, housing, jobs etc. It is wrong to point out that they do not WANT to do heavy jobs. One of the reasons they do not GET such jobs are because illegal immigrants work at less than the standard wages specified by the government. Illegal immigrants are kicking such poor Americans out of jobs by working for almost nothing. They are disturbing the balance of decent earning and available jobs by AGAIN breaking the law of accepting wages lower than prescribed by the government.
    4. If every country with economic problems in the world starts sending their people into the USA, how do you think the US government would be able to handle this? Americans have worked hard in making their country what it is today and they too want to maintain it beautifully.
    5. High crime rates are a result of illegal immigration in the areas which were safer before. Most of the illegal immigrates don’t report the crimes that happens against them, ‘coz they don’t want to be deported, but in doing so, they increase the risks of increasing the risk for others since these criminals are on loose. Maintaining Law and Order for the local police is becoming a headache.
    6. If the government does accept the already here illegal immigrants as legal citizens, do you think this will stop further illegal immigration into the US??? Don’t you think that this would act as an encouragement for people from other countries who would think coming to the US illegally is a step towards permanent citizenship?
    7. You complained about separating families – kids and parents – when illegal immigrants are deported. When people immigrate illegally they are already aware of the consequences – that they are breaking a law – and that they may face punishment sooner or later for that. I can very well understand the pain of such broken families but what I do not understand is how can anyone blame others for the decisions they made themselves??? The decision to enter into the US breaking the law was that of the parents and they KNEW well in advance what might happen when they are caught. How can they blame the US government now for violating human rights? US government is lenient enough to give citizenship to the kids born in the US even if their parents were illegal immigrants. Is this not enough? There are countries in the world(Middle-east) where such kids would be considered illegal immigrants because their parents were illegal immigrants and no human-rights claims are even allowed!!!
    8. I am sure people in your country respect your laws. How can you support people who break laws of other countries showing utter disrespect for their constitution?
    You seem like a hardworking and educated person. If people like yourself can work hard to make their dreams come true in Guatemala, why others take you as a role model and work towards making their dreams come true in Guatemala itself? You could be a role model who has made her life good in her own country.

  2. Texano78704 said:

    Wow! So many myths you have posted here, “SS.” Do you get paid to post this stuff here?
    Undocumented workers do pay all sorts of taxes. And if we were to consult knowledgeable economists, they would say that these workers have a positive impact on our economy.
    Undocumented workers do not drive down wages below the minimum wage set by the federal government, employers do.
    And your assertion that undocumented workers bring higher levels of crime, disease, etc., is just plain bogus. That is,if you are not talking about the rising hate crimes against immigrants.
    Come on! Confess that you really work for one of the hate groups.

  3. Wilmer said:

    i really believe that illegal immigration comes from stupid government decisions. For example when the American government makes economic treaties with undeveloped contries they dont try to help they just make things worth.long time ago my people were able to survive in their own country selling what they got from their farms. unfortunally now they cant. first the usa sends everything we need. my people now have to work here in the USA as farm workers being discriminated for no reason. i dont think that u can ever have an American dream working in suck conditions. This should be called The American Nightmare

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