Poverty, crime, and violence are just some of the reasons thousands of Guatemalans are fleeing the country every month, hoping to make it across the U.S.'s southern border. With extreme weather causing catastrophic flooding and other destruction, climate change is also increasingly motivating people to leave.
More than 64,000 Guatemalans have been apprehended at the southern border this fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said, including thousands of unaccompanied minors. CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez traveled to the village of Campur, Guatemala, to talk to people who have friends, relatives, and acquaintances who left for the U.S. — as well as others who plan on making the trek north themselves.
Last fall, back-to-back Hurricanes Eta and Iota battered Campur, leaving the village underwater for several weeks and displacing more than 300,000 Guatemalans. Flooding destroyed homes, schools, and crops, an especially painful result for a town where most residents work in agriculture. Beverly Alvarado Cahuec told Bojorquez that everything in her home was destroyed by the flooding, and she is concerned by the slow rebuilding efforts.
While Alvarado Cahuec plans on staying in Campur, she knows at least six people who have left for the U.S. in recent weeks. They are aware the border is closed, Alvarado Cahuec said, but take the risk knowing that there are opportunities available in the U.S. and nothing left for them in Campur.
One woman who plans on heading to the U.S. next week is Aurora Choc Coc, a single mom of three. She told Bojorquez the flooding left her home gutted, and she hopes to find work in Houston. Her youngest child is 2, but in order for her to search for employment, her kids have to stay in Campur. "I don't know if I'll be able to come back one day and hug them," Choc Coc said through tears. Her oldest son, listening to her conversation with Bojorquez, also began to cry. Catherine Garcia
The Biden administration announced on Monday that it will grant temporary protected status to Venezuelan migrants — an action that could help an estimated 320,000 people now living in the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled their country due to economic chaos, food and medicine shortages, and widespread and frequent power outages. Under temporary protected status, people who cannot return to their home country due to war and natural disasters are allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. Venezuelans will be able to have temporary protected status for 18 months.
The U.S. recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful president of Venezuela, rather than President Nicolas Maduro. In an attempt to force Maduro out, former President Donald Trump tightened sanctions against Venezuela, but did not grant temporary protected status to migrants.
"The United States is in no rush to lift sanctions," a senior Biden administration official told The Associated Press. "But we need to recognize here that unilateral sanctions over the last four years have not succeeded in achieving an electoral outcome in the country." Maduro has "adapted" to the sanctions on oil, the official added, and now is the time to "start sitting down with the international community to see how we can actually exert coordinated pressure and set clear expectations for the way forward." Catherine Garcia
In recent weeks, a record number of African migrants have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, fleeing from political persecution and economic hardship.
During one week, Border Patrol agents in Texas' Del Rio sector stopped more than 500 African migrants; only 211 African migrants were detained along the entire southern border during the 2018 fiscal year, The Associated Press reports. Most of the migrants are from the Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Cameroon. They fly to South America from Africa, then travel by land to the U.S.-Mexico border, with many seeking asylum at ports of entry.
Migrants from Cameroon have said they fly to Ecuador because there is no visa requirement, and it takes about four months to get from there to Tijuana. While in Panama, they are often robbed, AP reports, and held in camps run by the government.
Over the last several days, 170 asylum seekers were bused to Portland, Maine, where Somali refugees were resettled in the 1990s. Hundreds more are expected to arrive in the near future. Catherine Garcia