State Department bans Guatemalan lawmaker from entering US

State Department bans Guatemalan lawmaker from entering US
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The State Department on Thursday announced that it had blacklisted a Guatemalan lawmaker from entering the U.S. due to "his involvement in significant corruption."

The department said in a statement it would bar Guatemalan lawmaker Boris España Cáceres and his immediate family members from entering the U.S.

"In his official capacity, España has been involved in corrupt acts, including bribery and interfering with public processes, that jeopardized the stability of Guatemala’s democratic institutions and the Guatemalan public’s confidence in its representatives," the State Department said.

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"Furthermore, España remains in office despite widespread awareness of his involvement in significant corruption, which reflects a history of impunity in the Republic of Guatemala’s government institutions," the department added.

España's wife and children were also barred from entering the country.

España was blacklisted under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021, which gives Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenHouse bill targets US passport backlog Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Acquiescing to Berlin, emboldening Moscow and squeezing Kyiv: Biden and Nordstream 2 MORE the authority to designate officials of foreign government and their families ineligible for entry into the U.S.

"This designation reaffirms U.S. commitment to combatting the corruption and impunity that plagues Guatemala and other nations in the region. The Department will use all available tools to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally," the release said.

This announcement comes about one week after Vice President Harris made a visit to Guatemala as part of her effort to address the root cause of mass migration. During a speech she gave in Guatemala, Harris told Central American migrants hoping to travel to the U.S. not to come, garnering criticisms from both activists and lawmakers on the left.

"I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home. At the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States Mexico border: Do not come, do not come," she said.

During her visit, Harris, along with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, announced the formation of a new anticorruption task force to be headed by the U.S. Justice, Treasury and State departments.

“We will look to root out corruption wherever it exists because we know that it’s not in the best interest of democracy,” Harris said.