December 30, 2015 / 12:47 AM / in 2 years

Guatemala 'deeply worried' by U.S. plan to deport families

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala on Tuesday said it had serious concerns about U.S. government plans to round up and deport undocumented Central American families, children and young adults who have recently arrived in the United States.

First reported by The Washington Post, the plan by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency marks a shift from mostly targeting individuals to pursuing families with undocumented members, according to U.S. government officials consulted on the matter.

In a statement, the Guatemalan foreign ministry said it was "deeply worried" by the plan and had instructed its consulates in the United States to provide citizens affected by the measures all the necessary consular protection and advice.

The plan follows a surge in arrivals of unaccompanied children and families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and U.S. government sources last week said preparations were afoot to detain and deport families that already have been ordered to leave from next month.

The campaign will target people who have arrived since the start of 2014, according to the Washington Post.

El Salvador's government this weekend also expressed concern about the plan, while the government of Honduras said on Monday it had not received any official confirmation of the scheme.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Additional reporting by Nelson Renteria in San Salvador and Orfa Mejia in Tegucigalpa; Writing by Elinor Comlay

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