Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA
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Immigration and Trade Program:

Investigating U.S. Economic Policy and the Effects on Immigration

Related Resources

Coalition Partners

Fact Sheets:



Detention & Deportation

GHRC's Immigration Program focuses on the tremendous impact of migration on the economy, family, culture and community of the Guatemalan people. We aim to contribute to national dialogue about immigration, emphasizing our position that immigrants are often victims of economic violence that has torn apart their community and violates their right to remain in their communities, on their land, with their families.

Furthermore, our program focuses on the rights of the Guatemalan immigrant population in the US and the need for substantial immigration policy reform. Specifically, the program seeks to:

(1) inform people in the US on the roots causes of migration, including the effects of free market policies that prevent countries from being able to regulate and protect their own economies and

(2) advocate with our partners and in Congress for immigration reform that addresses the effects of US economic policy on migration. GHRC is a member of the National Capital Immigrant Coalition (NCIC) advocating for these reforms.

As a member of the Stop CAFTA Coalition, we continue to report on the effects of free trade in Guatemala. Our Trade and Immigration delegation to Guatemala is scheduled for March 7-15, 2009.


  • There are an estimated 1.5 million Guatemalans in the US today (and 13 million in Guatemala) of whom an estimated 60% are undocumented. Approximately 40,000 Guatemalans migrate to the US each year; 25-30,000 are deported annually. One plane full of Guatemalan deportees flies each day from the US.
  • Immigration raids increased dramatically in 2008 resulting in the detention of thousands of undocumented Guatemalans in over 350 detention centers where many were denied basic rights (access to medicine, phone calls, and separation from families).
  • Guatemalans contribute in many ways to the US: paying taxes, working, and contributing skills and a rich culture to their community.
  • Over $4 billion per year is sent in remittances to Guatemala. Without this money, many Guatemalan families would not survive. Thus the cycle of migration, remittances, and dependence will continue until the Guatemalan economy offers real job opportunities with benefits. This cannot happen under the current US trade policy (CAFTA), which offers tax cuts to foreign companies, pushing the race to the bottom for cheapest employment and least job benefits.

*New Bill HR 2164 aims to control undocumented employment in the United States. Read about it here under our current 2011 resources.

*New documentary In the Shadow of the Raid investigates the after-math of the raid on the Postville, IA meatpacking plant and the affect the raid had on Guatemalan deportees.

*Movement of Guatemalan Immigrants in the U.S. (MIGUA) publishes analysis of immigration reform in November issue of Nahual Migrante

*Open Doors to Resource Extraction, article by the Pastoral Commission for Peace and Ecology (COPAE) published in the 2008 Stop Cafta Coalition monitoring report, DR-CAFTA: Effects and Alternatives.

*For more information about the impact of multinational mega-projects in Guatemala, visit:

Case Study: Goldcorp in San Marcos: Despite overwhelming community opposition, environmental destruction, and drastic effects on the health of the community members, the Canadian mining company Goldcorp continues to operate the Marlin Mine in the region of San Miguel, Ixtahuacán.

Stop CAFTA Coalition, a group of NGOs advocating for the renegotiation of DR-CAFTA; publish yearly reports documenting the effects of the Free Trade Agreement on Central American communities.

National Capital Immigrant Coalition

















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