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US Border Patrol Agents will Deploy to Guatemala to Train Side-by-Side

DHS personnel will advise Guatemalan police and migration authorities on how to halt human smuggling

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US, Border Patrol Agents, Guatemala
Central American migrants eat lunch, courtesy of Mexican officials, on the border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala, as they wait for their humanitarian visas from Mexican migration officials to be processed. VOA

The United States is reportedly sending dozens of Department of Homeland (DHS) security agents and investigators to Guatemala to help stem the flow of unauthorized migration from Central America to the U.S.

The Washington Post, citing anonymous U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation, reports DHS personnel will advise Guatemalan police and migration authorities on how to halt human smuggling. The intent of the effort, the Postreports, is to close heavily-traveled routes to the U.S. and discourage migrants from embarking on journeys to the U.S. through Mexico.

The reported plan has not been publicly disclosed, but DHS said in a statement Friday that acting secretary Kevin McAleenan finalized an agreement during a recent meeting with Guatemalan officials that included “a provision on law enforcement training to improve criminal investigations that disrupt human trafficking.”

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened stiffer tariffs on Mexico on Thursday if it does not stop illegal migrants, mostly from Central America, from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. He also threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries.

US, Border Patrol Agents, Guatemala
The United States is reportedly sending dozens of Department of Homeland (DHS) security agents and investigators to Guatemala. Pixabay

Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade said Friday his country wants to combat the issue by using “traditional mechanisms and better exercise(ing) existing rules.” Seade will attempt to resolve the dispute when he meets on Wednesday in Washington with a U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Also Read- Mexico Could Tighten Migration Controls to Defuse Trump Tariffs Threat

Caravans of migrants, mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador began coming to the U.S.-Mexican border in large numbers last fall. The U.S. says an average of 4,500 migrants arrive at the border each day, the largest migrant surge on the border in a decade. DHS says 109,000 migrants were arrested at the border in April. (VOA)

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Small Shops in US Often Sell Tobacco Without Checking Age

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores

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FILE - An anti-tobacco warning is seen on a road divider on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

Those buying tobacco from shops in the US, especially small stores, are usually not asked for identification hence it is easy for underage users to buy cigarettes there, says a study.

When researchers, aged 20 and 21, visited a variety of shops in the US, more than 60 per cent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.

In the study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, it was found that these young adults slipped by without an age check most often when they visited small stores, tobacco shops and shops plastered with tobacco ads.

“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores – tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising – are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University in the US.

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FILE – Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. VOA

“One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations,” she added.

The study included visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco retailers in 2017.

Also Read: Use of Oral Steroids Increases Risk of Infection in People with Inflammation

More than 64 per cent of grocery stores checked IDs, compared with about 34 per cent of convenience stores and tobacco shops, and 29 per cent bars, restaurants and alcohol stores.

“Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers,” Roberts said. (IANS)