Guatemala to Triple Reception Capacity for Its Returning Migrants at Airport

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration, Migrant Assistance

Guatemala City – Guatemala will triple its capacity to assist its migrant populations returning by air from Mexico and the United States, when a new migrant support centre under construction at the La Aurora International Airport is opened later this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is overseeing construction of the Centre for the Reception of Returned Airborne Populations, which will then be managed by the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM) when it opens in June 2019.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided USD 1.2 million for the construction and sourcing of furniture and equipment adapted to the needs of those who return to the country.

The centre – which is being built on Guatemalan Air Force land granted by the Ministry of National Defense – is part of efforts to dignify the return process and provides the first step towards successful reintegration in the communities of origin.

"This is an important step for Guatemala, especially a significant step in the restitution of the rights of migrants, national security, the protection of returnees and dignifying migration processes," said Jorge Peraza Breedy, Chief of IOM Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The building will include recreational areas adapted to the needs of unaccompanied migrant children, adolescents and returned families, in line with the Best Interests of the Child concept; a room for breastfeeding, medical clinics, telephone calls, a psychosocial interview room, a checkpoint and a waiting area for those who arrive to receive their relatives, among others.

The initiative will help Guatemala meet the growing challenges of managing human mobility, encourage social and economic development through migration and ensure respect for human dignity and the well-being of migrants.

During the first semester of the year, the IOM will implement actions that facilitate the integration of other government institutions to offer services and services for the returned migrant population.

The construction of the centre is part of IOM’s Return and Reintegration Project in the Northern Triangle of Central America, supported by USAID.

Between January and November 2017, 60,073 people were returned to Guatemala from Mexico and the United States; in 2018, in the same period, 87,560 returns were recorded, representing an increase of 45.8 per cent. The departments with the highest number of returnees are (in order): Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Quiché, Quetzaltenango, and Guatemala.

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Email:, Tel: +502 2414-7401

  • The new center, under construction at La Aurora International Airport, will triple the capacity of the Government of Guatemala to support migrants being returned from Mexico and the US. Photo: IOM