EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Thousands of Hondurans and Guatemalans have passed through Juarez, Mexico, on their way to the United States in the past three years, some of them lingering for months while arranging passage or after being deported.

Advocates say that often leaves the migrants in a strange land with little resources and vulnerable to crime. That’s one of the reasons why the governments of those two Northern Triangle of Central America nations are talking to Mexican officials about opening consulates in Juarez.

That was the gist of a Wednesday meeting between Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar, Guatemala Ambassador to Mexico Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores and Honduran Consul Raul Matamoros Bertot.

“I was glad to meet with them and I committed to work with them to bring about consular representation from both countries here, so they can provide support and certainty to their countrymen for however long they stay on this part of the border,” Perez Cuellar said.

Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar (right) meets with Guatemala Ambassador to Mexico Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores at Juarez City Hall. (photo courtesy City of Juarez)

Since April, some 6,400 Hondurans and Guatemalans have checked in at the Kiki Romero Gym, a city-run shelter, the mayor’s office said. They stayed from a few days to a few weeks before going home or attempting another crossing.

But the shelters can only provide food and temporary housing. The migrants often need legal assistance, copies of identity documents they lost along the way, a trustworthy environment to pursue justice if they’ve been victims of crimes, or, as a last resort, bus fare to go home.

These would be the second and third Central American consulates to operate in Juarez. The government of El Salvador in late 2019 opened a consulate in Juarez. There’s no firm word yet of when the Honduran and Guatemalan consulates will open there.

Matamoros earlier told Mexican media his country is trying to create jobs, improve health care and facilitate the development of small businesses so people don’t feel the need to migrate. However, he said jobs were lost due to the pandemic and criminal activity from street gangs and their recruiting of young people are fueling migration. He said this is a shared problem among Northern Triangle nations.