In September, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) organized a tour for Guatemalan and Honduran immigration authorities. The aim of the familiarization trip was to help immigration officials get to know the US removal process, immigration policies, and detention system. The trip was also intended to foster cooperation between the three countries.
The three-day trip included a number of officials. Participants traveled to Texas to see the dentition and removal process for immigrants firsthand. The group traveled to San Antonio to see the South Texas Detention Center and the Karnes County Civil Detention Center, two ICE facilities where detainees are housed. Participants were also able to tour the Baptist Child and Family Services Juvenile Shelter for minors involved in immigration court processes. During the trip, officials also visited the South Texas Detention Center to see an immigration court in session. Finally, officials also took part in an ICE ERO repatriation flight to see how groups of deportees are transported back to their home countries.
Immigration officials from Honduras and Guatemala were also given the chance to ask questions about immigration processes and to voice any concerns they had about the processes and policies in place. Guatemalan director of consular affairs Marta Munoz was pleased with the outcome of the trip, saying that it gave her a better understanding of the immigration process in the US and allowed her to address some of the issues and questions that people brought to her about the US immigration and removal process. One Honduras ICE assistant attaché, Everett Chase, said that the trip would help spark new ideas for the immigration process while Honduran immigration official Jose Zaldano found the trip advantageous in helping him understand the removal process.
Deportees from Honduras and Guatemala are removed regularly from the US. Even with the ICE now focusing in removal of criminal undocumented immigrants, the current administration has removed historical numbers of undocumented immigrants. The high volume of deportations has led some to raise questions about how detainees and immigrants are treated in the system. The ICE trip was a chance for the government agency to shed some light on the removal process and to show officials from other countries how the process works.