Guatemala to seek humanitarian protection for citizens in United States

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers remove debris and mud from an area hit by a mudslide, caused by heavy rains brought by Storm Eta, as the search for victims continue in the buried village of Queja, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala November 7, 2020. Esteban Bilba/EFE/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala will request temporary humanitarian protection for its citizens in the United States following the devastation caused by storm Eta, President Alejandro Giammattei said on Monday.

A deluge linked to storm Eta killed an estimated 150 people in Guatemala last week and caused devastation from Panama to Mexico.

“The foreign ministry will, over the course of the week, send the papers to our ambassador in Washington, who will make the request to the U.S. government,” Giammattei told reporters.

“We don’t know if President Trump will accept or not but we believe that it is our obligation to request it.”

In September, a U.S. appeals court sided with outgoing President Donald Trump over his administration’s decision to end humanitarian protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, including from El Salvador.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Robert Birsel