‘Truthfully, it’s frustrating’: Guatemalans criticize delays at L.A. consulate
Juan Raul Gutierrez, center, sits with his family with his dog Pancho in Guatemala City on Wednesday. Members of the community complained that the consulate’s failure to process applications for visas to the U.S. is preventing them from attending a funeral for his father, who died before he was able to get travel documents. (Robert Galbraith / Los Angeles Times)
Guatemala: The consulate in Los Angeles waits on a long list of immigration applications to process, delaying people from attending funerals.
The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala on Thursday asked for more time to process applications for visas at the consulate in Los Angeles.
“There is no doubt the consulate in LA is taking its time, and we’re waiting for the visa interviews to be rescheduled,” said Jorge Hernandez, a U.S. Embassy human rights specialist in Guatemala City. “This is a delay in the processing of applications that puts people in danger.”
On July 25, a man died in Guatemala and his body arrived in Los Angeles on July 27. The man named Juan, who was 38 and died of a heart attack, was scheduled to start a five-year stay as an undocumented immigrant with his son, according to the Guatemalan consulate in Los Angeles.
On Friday morning, a week after the family’s arrival, representatives of the Guatemalan consulate in Los Angeles said they had no other choice than to postpone the man’s funeral.
Juan’s father, Jesus, is a disabled ex-police officer who served three tours in Iraq, most recently in 2004 as a deputy chief of police. The family fled El Salvador when Juan was 5, and Juan’s father was killed when he was 11. The family fled to Honduras, but Juan and his mother could not afford the trip back.
The boy’s father could not get