An influx of Guatemalan refugees has come pouring over the US border in the hopes of escaping from their country devastated by climate change. This has prompted US president Trump to issue a statement last week, warning that he will close the US border due to the entry of Central American migrants in the area.
However, what Trump’s border security failed to realize is that most of them migrants aren’t from El Salvador or Honduras; instead, most of them are from Guatemala. According to immigrant advocates, most of these migrants are forced to flee from the Guatemalan border due to the drastic effects of climate change.
Abraham, an indigenous Guatemalan farmer who is now settling in Palm Beach Country, recalls the sound of his hoe hitting dry earth back in this native country. Years of nonstop drought and erosion has caused the soil in his land to be as hard as rock, and this has prevented crops from ever growing.
Back then, he recalled that there was always an abundance of harvest with a ton of crops including beans and corns. Now, there is literally nothing. This has prompted Abraham and his family to embark on a two-week journey to the US border back in December. After applying for asylum and getting processed, they then head to join the indigenous Guatemalan community which is currently resident in Lake Worth, South Florida.
According to Abraham, there used to be a river running by his village back then, but now it was all dried up. Abraham is just one of the many families who suffered from such heavy drought.
Amanda Escalante, a family aid coordinator in Lake Worth’s Guatemalan Maya Center, stated that more and more Guatemalan families are arriving, along with them carrying worrying levels of desperation and heavy poverty.