Guatemala says it didn't sign deal with US to increase border security

Source: The Hill | April 13, 2021 | Rebecca Beitsch

The government of Guatemala on Tuesday pushed back against claims from the White House earlier this week that it had signed an agreement with the U.S. to increase security at their border.

The statement, which says there is no “signed document” between the two countries relating to border security, points to an influx in troops sent to the border earlier this year.

It comes after White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday told reporters that the Biden administration had secured a deal with the Central American nation along with Mexico and Honduras to increase the number of personnel at their borders.

“The objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey, and make crossing the borders more more difficult,” Psaki said Monday. “We worked with them to increase law enforcement at the border to deter the travel, which is a treacherous journey.”

“Guatemala surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its southern border with Honduras and agreed to set up 12 checkpoints along the migratory routes,” she added later.

In its Spanish language statement, Guatemala says the 1,500 troops were sent to the border in January of this year in response to migrant caravans.

“President Alejandro Guimmattei has committed, since the beginning of his term in January 2020, to strengthen border security as a strategy to battle transnational threats like drug trafficking, human trafficking, and as a preventive measure in the face of the pandemic,” the statement says.

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