Guatemalan Asylum in the United States: Historical Foundations and Indiscretions
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis paper seeks to establish, using the historical development of Guatemala as context for understanding, the legitimacy of the asylum claims of Guatemalans who immigrated to the United States during the Guatemalan Civil War. The history will show that Indigenous groups have suffered for centuries under the oppression of non-Indigenous peoples in Guatemala. As concentration of non- Indigenous power grew and economic interest became the primary concern, their loss came with the seizure of their ancestral land. During the 36 year Civil War, Indigenous groups experienced a loss of Indigenous identity, cultural relevance, and dignity. The Guatemalan Government systemically executed acts of terror and cruelty against rural, native peoples. As a product of this violence, thousands of Guatemalans sought safety in the United States but were met with rejection. This paper will establish that Indigenous peoples of Guatemala have irrefutably suffered enough. By providing legal frameworks for the determination refugee status, this work will show that Guatemalans qualify for asylum. Evidence combining the history of Indigenous groups in Guatemala and conditions of present day Guatemala will combine to elucidate why those who entered the US between 1960 and 1996 because of persecution should be granted permanent residence.
Degree ProgramHonors College