In 2005 Guatemala was rated number two on the list of the top ten Hague-associated countries that US families adopted from. Now, adoptions from Guatemala have almost completely halted.
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption is an international agreement to safeguard inter-country adoptions. The United States signed this agreement in 1994 in an effort to help protect children. But in the years since Guatemala signed the agreement, the country’s internal policies have still not come into compliance with the Hague Convention. Although Guatemala implemented the Ortega Law, meant to bring the country into compliance with Hague requirements, in early 2008, they have “not yet fully implemented legislation that would create a Convention-compliant adoption process,” according to the US State Department.
During Senator Rand Paul’s recent humanitarian trip to Guatemala, he spent 45 minutes of his time with President Otto Perez Molina. The purpose of his visit with President Molina was to express regret in regards to the halted adoption relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala. As a method to slow down illegal immigration, Senator Paul suggested to President Molina that a review, and change, of policies on adoption between Guatemala and the U.S. take place. Although Paul encouraged President Molina to consider making changes to Guatemala’s adoption policies with the U.S., he also made it clear that he feels the real problems lie not with Guatemala, but with our White House. Paul’s stance is that many of the illegal immigrants from Guatemala are minors who could legally enter the U.S. through much-desired adoption.