Temporary Protected Status: Bush says:

'Let me think about it' … sends it to McCain.


                                                                  [Prensa Libre, Guatemala]



Prensa Libre, Guatemala

President Colom Obtains Little in Meeting With Bush


"The United States remains an important trading partner and ally to Guatemala, which is not necessarily true in reverse. … The daily deportations of Guatemalans clearly demonstrate that point."




Translated By Miguel Guttierez


April 29, 2008


Prensa Libre - Guatemala - Original Article (Spanish)

President Bush and Guatemala President Alvaro Colom: Navigating Washington in an election year proves daunting.

White House Video: President Bush Meets with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom in the Oval Office, April 29, 00:07:02RealVideo

As was to expected, the meeting yesterday between President Álvaro Colom and his colleague George W. Bush in Washington, D. C. had no real impact on the central problem of the approximately 700,000 undocumented Guatemalans resident in the United States, although the comments of the host President remained within the bounds of diplomatic propriety.


Indeed, President Colom bought up Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Guatemalans living in the United States, to which Bush replied that he "will consider the request," and that he believes that, "comprehensive immigration reform is in the best interests" of their country. The Guatemalan President said that he is "awaiting a response" to the above request, and that the two had discussed the issues of greatest importance to Guatemala during his visit to the U.S. capital.


[Editor's Note: Temporary Protected Status is granted to eligible nationals of designated countries who can't return home because of a crisis in their home country. This would give undocumented Guatemalans in the U.S. temporary work permits].


The TPS has been granted to Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Hondurans, but due to the judgment of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, there is little hope that the same will be allowed in the Guatemalan case. It is important then, that the President emphasizes the issue with Democratic and Republican Senate leaders during the meetings he will hold with them today. But given the U.S. domestic political focus on the struggle over the November elections, things are not conducive to progress in this regard.


[Editor's Note: Immigrants from the neighboring countries of Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador were given access to the TPS after natural disasters that have occurred in recent years, but unfortunately for Guatemalans, no such arrangements have been made in their case.]


The conversation between the two presidents also centered on the issue of drug trafficking and the need to increase efforts to combat it. It remains to be seen where the Merida Initiative will lead [a program that has been compared to Plan Colombia ], which has provided $1.5 million for Mexico and a lesser amount for Central America. As for trade, Bush announced that Guatemalan arándano [blueberries] would enjoy free access to the U.S., where the fruit has huge market and is known as blueberry. 



Meetings between Guatemalan officials and their Washington colleagues stand out due to a failure to comprehend how the complicated American political system works. The president has great power but at the same time he must utilize that power with discretion. Because of their small size, the republics of Central America have always been less important, unless a political phenomenon occurs that affects their large northern neighbor - something that hasn’t happened since guerrilla activity was prevalent and the Sandinistas were in power - but within the framework of the Cold War.


The United States remains an important trading partner and ally to Guatemala, which is not necessarily true in reverse. And since there are other more pressing problems in Latin America or the Central American Isthmus, it's unlikely that this relationship will grow in significance. The daily deportations of Guatemalans clearly demonstrate that point.

























[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 30, 2:04pm]