Deportations from the United States Are Spreading COVID-19 to Guatemala, Placing Many at Risk

Statement from Refugees International Advocate for Latin America Rachel Schmidtke in response to the Guatemalan Health Minister’s statement today that 75 percent of deportees arriving on a flight from the United States tested positive for COVID-19: 

“It is more apparent than ever that without access to testing for deportees, deportations from the United States are placing migrants and the Guatemalan public at risk. Unless deportees have access to testing prior to boarding the plane, there is no guarantee that they are not at risk of spreading the virus to others on the plane or to their families once they arrive home.

Continuing to deport sick people who lack access to healthcare, a financial safety net, or even basic necessities like potable water once they arrive in Guatemala is irresponsible and places unnecessary risks on some of the most vulnerable. The United States government should stop deporting anyone unless they test negative for COVID-19. The Guatemalan government should call on the United States to halt deportations until testing can be made available to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Sarah Sheffer at or 202 540 7029.