GUATEMALA CITY -- The speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi, arrived in Guatemala with a congressional delegation Thursday, starting a Central American trip that seeks to explore the causes of immigration amid a crisis of migrants on the southern U.S. border.
After meeting with government, church and non-governmental groups in Guatemala, the delegation will continue on to Honduras and El Salvador, as well as visiting migrant detention facilities in McAllen, Texas.
Pelosi's office said in a statement that the trip is aimed at "helping empower the people of the Northern Triangle to build a better future at home." The Northern Triangle refers to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
As if to illustrate the issue, just moments after her delegation arrived, more than 200 Guatemalans deported from the U.S. arrived on two separate planes. They are among the more than 34,600 Guatemalans deported so far this year.
The Trump administration is trying to restrict applications for asylum in the U.S. from this region by requiring migrants to apply in Guatemala rather than at the U.S. border. Guatemala's government recently signed a "safe third country" agreement with Washington but it remains to be seen whether the accord will ever be implemented as it faces widespread opposition in Guatemala.
Pelosi's delegation includes a dozen lawmakers, including the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Earlier Thursday, Pelosi said the delegation will honor the "enormous contributions" that generations of immigrants from the region have made to the U.S.