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Mayorkas meets with Guatemalan leader Arévalo following House impeachment over immigration

MEXICO CITY — U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas met Saturday with newly elected Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo and discussed regional migration, security and the economy in the Central American nation, they said.

The meeting at the Munich Security Conference came days after the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Mayorkas for the administration’s handling of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

“Guatemala is a key partner of ours in regional economic development, managing hemispheric migration, combatting transnational crime, and much more,” wrote Mayorkas in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

The U.S. has pushed allies in Latin America like Guatemala to put up barriers to slow migration north. It has also sought to address the root causes of migration from countries like Guatemala, which has seen hundreds of thousands of its own citizens migrate to the U.S. every year.

While arrests by the U.S. Border Patrol sharply dipped in January, down 50% in from a record-breaking 249,735 in December, immigration remains a top priority for the Biden administration and voters in the lead up to the 2024 election.

Both Mayorkas and Arévalo on Saturday reaffirmed their commitment to collaborating on issues in the Americas. “Together we will work for the security and well-being of the region,” Arévalo wrote in a post on X.

The meeting also comes after a tumultuous couple of months for progressive anti-corruption crusader Arévalo. The leader has posed a threat to the country’s elite who have long benefited from high levels of corruption and impunity in Guatemala, something the Biden administration has said contributed to migration.

Arévalo and his Seed Party Movement faced waves of judicial attacks during his election campaign and following his election, which has raised democratic concerns across the region and has spurred the Biden administration to impose sanctions on a slew of officials it said sought to “undermine Guatemala’s peaceful transition of power.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to support Guatemala’s democracy and work together to advance the security and prosperity of the Americas,” Mayorkas wrote.

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