Guatemala 11 Sep 2014 00:00
Text by Jenny Gustafsson and Photos by Karim Mostafa
A crowd has gathered on the grass outside Guatemala City’s airport. They wait patiently, wander back and forth outside the gates. Suddenly a plane appears in the sky, sinks down behind the wall. This is what everyone has been waiting for – one of several daily flights arriving with men and women deported from the United States. “I’m here to meet my brother. He called us yesterday saying that he was coming back today,” says Azucely, a young woman with one child resting on her hip and another playing at her feet. Her brother had been in the US for five years, she says, when he got caught without papers. Azucely herself went through the same thing only a year before. “I had been in the US for nine years when I was deported, all the time without papers. I have three kids born over there. I left Guatemala when I was young, only 14. My mum took a bank loan to send me. She did the same with my brothers too.” Azucely relates a common narrative among young people from the region, who are migrating in ever-growing numbers. The Central American immigrant population in the U.S. has nearly tripled since the 1990s, and now makes up the fastest-growing segment of its Latino population. But the story for many ends suddenly. Over 2 million people have been deported during Obama’s years in power – more than any other period in the past. “Each week, between nine and 14 flights land here, full with people. Most come with nothing at all,” says Mario Hernández at Guatemala City’s airport.
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