GUATEMALA CITY – Remittances from Guatemalans abroad rose 11.3 percent in the first four months of this year compared with the same period in 2007, the country’s central bank said Friday.
Banco de Guatemala said remittances totaled nearly $1.36 billion between Jan. 1 and April 30.
The Central American nation registered a record $4.13 billion in remittances in 2007 and the flow of money from Guatemalans working in the United States has increased despite U.S. authorities’ crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
Some 1.2 million Guatemalans are living abroad, according to the International Organization for Migration, which says 90 percent of the expats are in the United States and that 60 percent of them are undocumented.
U.S. immigration authorities deported 23,062 Guatemalans in 2007 and have expelled another 8,000 or so during the first four months of this year.
Remittances are Guatemala’s second-leading source of hard currency. According to figures from 2006, 51 percent of Guatemala’s 13.3 million people are poor, subsisting on around $48 per month.