Guatemala to seek US probe into migrant deaths

Guatemala will ask Washington to investigate the deaths of two of its nationals at a US detention center for undocumented immigrants, an official here said Saturday.

The request will ask US immigration authorities "to clarify the circumstances which gave rise to the unfortunate deaths of the detained Guatemalans," said Alejandra Gordillo of the Guatemalan National Council for Migrants.

The two Guatemalans -- Elsa Guadalupe Gonzalez, 25, and Jorge Garcia Mejia, 40 -- died this past week at the Elroy Detention Center in the southwestern state of Arizona, under unknown circumstances.

The foreign ministry said 40 Guatemalans have died in the US in the first four months of 2013, more than double the figure from the same period a year earlier.

US President Barack Obama, who departed Costa Rica Saturday after a two-day summit with Central American leaders, has been pressing for an overhaul of his country's immigration laws.

Obama is seeking reforms that could allow 11 million undocumented workers -- mostly from Mexico and Central America -- to come "out of the shadows" and gain a pathway toward citizenship.

The International Organization for Migration reports that some 1.5 million Guatemalans live abroad, with 1.3 million in the US, most of whom are in the country illegally.