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

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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.