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Guatemala Has Renewed Its TPS Request

September 28th, 2011

Our thanks go out to one of our commenters, Pablo, for sharing a link to a Univision story covering Guatemala’s renewal of its TPS request. In short, the Guatemalan government has asked that last year’s request for Temporary Protected Status be revived in light of the recent disasters that have hit the country.

This year’s earthquakes and other disasters have put an incredible strain on an already-struggling country, leading to a humanitarian crisis. In these conditions, it is perfectly reasonable for the United States to extend the most basic immigration relief to Guatemalan nationals already here.

While we have been down this road before (just last year), hope springs eternal, and we can pray that the upcoming election will have a positive effect on TPS’s chances this time around.

Norma Torres Held Town Hall on Guatemalan TPS in Los Angeles

September 23rd, 2011

It has been a very long time since we have heard anything new about Guatemala’s TPS request, and many people have given up hope. Many perhaps, but not everyone. California Assemblymember Norma Torres was scheduled to give a speech at a town hall meeting last night specifically dedicated to the Guatemalan TPS request.

We just found out about the meeting this morning, which is unfortunate, as we would have happily shared the news and encouraged all of our L.A.-area friends to attend and support the meeting. Nonetheless, we appreciate Assemblymember Torres’s dedication and unflagging support of this issue, and hope that her office will be able to provide us with a copy of her speech to share with everyone here.

If you went to the town hall last night, please leave a comment below and let us know what you thought.

World Bank Approves $100M Emergency Relief Loan for Guatemala

December 12th, 2010

In a sign that foreign interest in relief efforts from this spring’s Guatemalan disasters hasn’t disappeared, the World Bank on Friday approved a” US$100 million loan to provide emergency assistance to preserve health and education services in Guatemala following this series of natural disasters, which caused an estimated US$1.55 billion in damages and losses (4.1 percent of the nation’s GDP).” In addition to showing a continuing commitment to assisting Guatemala’s recovery, the new loan is a clear reminder of the continuing need for further aid.

Perhaps this loan can serve to help return Guatemala’s request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) the Obama Administration’s attention. While the World Bank certainly uses its own criteria and has no official influence on US policy, it is our hope that this latest example of support by a globally respected institution will help guide the administration to the right decision.

US Congress Considers TPS for Pakistan (but not Guatemala)

December 9th, 2010

US Congressman Al Green (D-Texas) introduced a new bill yesterday to grant TPS to Pakistan following the dramatic floods that struck that country this summer.  While we certainly support the bill (indeed, the link above is to our sister blog, which dedicated to the Pakistani TPS request), we have to express our disappointment that the Guatemalan request has not seen the same kind of Congressional support.

The only Congressional action in support of Guatemala’s request has been House Resolution 1462, which was introduced in June and has been languishing in silence since July. The resolution is quite different from today’s bill, in that it is merely an expression of support for the people of Guatemala and not an actual law granting TPS.  It is incredible that our Congress was unable to pass even this meek resolution, and that it has stood by so silently with no action in support of Guatemala.

Aruturo Valenzuela para Reunirse con Presidente Colom Hoy

December 7th, 2010

Arturo A. Valenzuela, El  Asistente Secretario de Estado para Los Asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental, esta previsto que se reúna con el Presidente Colom hoy durante el segundo día de su visita de dos días a Guatemala.  La visita es parte de la gira de cinco días que Sr. Valenzuela esta haciendo de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador.  Es un viaje que está “diseñado para discutir la cooperación de seguridad en curso, fortalecimiento de la gobernabilidad democrática y renovados esfuerzos para promover la coordinación sobre seguridad ciudadana.”

Si bien no ha habido ninguna mención oficial de TPS asociado con este viaje, esperamos que el asunto sea debatido durante la reunión de hoy.  Manténgase en contacto para cualquier acontecimiento.

NOTICIAS DE ULTIMA HORA (4: 01 PM PST): Sr. Valenzuela ha completado su reunión con el Presidente Colom y el jefe de la CICG, Francisco Dall’Anese.  La reunión aparentemente centrada en cuestiones graves de seguridad, crimen y la impunidad, cosas serias en Guatemala hoy.  Aún, no se han producido anuncios oficiales de las discusiones relacionados con el TPS.

Aruturo Valenzuela to Meet with President Colom Today (UPDATED)

December 7th, 2010

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo A. Valenzuela is scheduled to meet with President Colom today during the second day of his two-day visit to Guatemala.  The visit is part of Mr. Valenzuela’s five-day tour of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, a trip that is “designed to discuss ongoing security cooperation, strengthening of democratic governance and renewed efforts to advance coordination on citizen security.

While there has been no official mention of TPS associated with this trip, we expect that the matter will be discussed during today’s meeting.  Stay tuned for any developments.

UPDATE (4:01 PM PST):  Mr. Valenzuela has completed his meeting with President Colom and the head of CICG (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), Francisco Dall’Anese.  The meeting apparently focused on security, crime, and impunity, serious issues in Guatemala today.  As of yet, there have been no official announcements of any TPS-related discussions.

Obama Calls for Review of Protection for Medical Subjects

December 1st, 2010

A bit of news on US-Guatemalan relations caught our eye, courtesy of the LA Times’ “La Plaza” blog. Yesterday, the blog reported on a directive issued by President Obama to conduct a “comprehensive review of medical research guidelines.” The review is a direct result of October’s revelations on the inhumane and unethical studies conducted by US doctors on Guatemalan prisoners in the 1940′s.

While this news has little to do with the TPS request, at least on the surface, it is an indication of a commitment by President Obama to ethical and humanitarian goals.  It is also a sign that issue of the 1940′s studies has not been swept under the table, and that the administration is working to resolve the diplomatic problems raised by the discovery of those studies.  There has been a lot of pressure on President Colom to use the issue as additional pressure in support of the TPS request, something he has publicly denied to do.  Of course, as the recent WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables shows us, the public and private faces diplomacy are often worlds apart.

Update on Chicago’s Official Support for TPS

November 25th, 2010

Back in October, we reported that the Chicago City Council appeared to support Guatemala’s TPS request.  At the time, the Council had taken a vote on a supportive resolution, but the results of that resolution were not available.

Well, the results are now online (on page 87 of the PDF), and were recently referenced by the Guatemalan foreign ministry. As it turns out, the vote was unanimous, with all 47 voting members supporting Guatemala’s request for assistance!

Of course, the vote isn’t binding in any way, but it is important to remember the significance of Chicago.  President Obama considers the Windy City his home, and he got his political start there. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is one of the favored candidates to replace Mayor Daly, and there are many political connections between the City and the President. So, while the Chicago City Council certainly can’t tell Mr. Obama what to do, its support is a good sign indeed.

Colom / Obama Meeting Not Happening?

November 18th, 2010

We recently posted news of an apparent planned meeting between Presidents Obama and Colom.  Since that time, we have been trying to confirm whether this meeting will actually happen, or whether it is merely a possible event with little chance of occuring. Unfortunately, our research to date appears to indicate the former – that there is no meeting scheduled between the two presidents during the SICA meeting in the Dominican Republic next month.  Indeed, it appears unlikely that President Obama will even be at the SICA summit.

Of course, we are not privy to the President’s actual plans, and it is entirely possible that such a meeting is in fact scheduled. But it is increasingly unlikely that Mr. Obama will make the trip to the Dominican Republic.  As always, stay tuned for more news!

Colom para Reunirse con Obama para Descutir el TPS

November 11th, 2010

El 11 de noviembre de 2010,

El Presidente de Guatemala, Alvaro Colom, está programado para reunirse con el Presidente Obama y discutir la solicitud de su país para el TPS. La reunión está programada para la primera parte de diciembre durante una cumbre en la República Dominicana, de acuerdo con un informe publicado por Prensa Libre.  Regulares de este blog recordarán que hemos mencionado la posibilidad de esta reunión un tiempo atrás, pero no hemos podido obtener mucho para confirmarlo hasta ahora.

Esta es una noticia excitante, y da crédito a la sugerencia de que el liderazgo de guatemalteco había sido intencionalmente tranquilo sobre este tema durante la temporada de elecciones del E.E.U.U.  Ahora que las elecciones están detrás de nosotros, es probable que la administración de Colom vea una ventana estrecha durante el cual podrá concederse la solicitud TPS.  Manténgase en contacto para más noticias.