Guatemalans Represent Growing Asylum-Seeker Community in Memphis

Oct 2, 2019

At a "Mobile Consulate" of Guatemala, held in Memphis on Sept. 21, 2019, an assistant helps migrants get passports.
Credit Courtesy of Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal

More than 70 percent of the cases held in Memphis' immigration court are people from the Central American countries of Guatemala and Honduras. Reporter Daniel Connolly of the Commercial Appeal says the growing number of people has prompted the government of Guatemala to open a consulate here within the next year or so to meet a rising demand for passports and other papers. 

For many asylum seekers, having the proper documentation comes with benefits and risks. The benefit is that during the lengthy legal process, an immigrant will have the security that comes with being a documented visitor. But acquiring a passport also means the United States has an easier time with deportation when legal options run out, and the government may require the person to be monitored with an ankle bracelet pending court.