Guatemala rounds up dozens of immigrants

Guatemalan authorities rounded up 96 people as part of an operation to identify unqualified migrants trying to go to the United States and return them to their countries of origin.

The operation targeted towns, villages and bus stations nationwide, and was aimed at those who are ineligible for the immigration process, the government said. It said those taken into custody include Hondurans, Salvadorans, Haitians, Brazilians and one person of African origin.

Police carried out the operation in several “strategic points” throughout the country to identify migrants passing through Guatemala to reach the US. It is the first known police operation conducted simultaneously in different locations to specifically target migrants.

In a series of tweets, police said they “will ensure that the human rights and physical integrity of people who are temporarily in the country are respected.”

Authorities said they’ll assist those who don’t meet the legal requirements to be in Guatemala and want to return voluntarily to their home countries.

In March, the White House announced it was cutting off aid to the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, saying the three “set up” migrant caravans for entry into the US.

“We were paying them tremendous amounts of money. And we’re not paying them anymore. Because they haven’t done a thing for us. They set up these caravans,” President Donald Trump said in March.

At the time, the Department of Homeland Security signed a regional agreement with the Northern Triangle countries aimed at preventing irregular migration, combating criminal organizations and ultimately helping with US border security.