Guatemalan congressman Boris Espa├▒a C├íceres has been banned from entering the United States due to "involvement in significant corruption", the State Department announced on Thursday.
C├íceres, an assemblyman from the department of Chiquimula, was formerly the department's governor in the administration of Oscar Berger.
According to the State Department, Espa├▒a "has been involved in corrupt acts, including bribery and interfering with public processes, that jeopardized the stability of Guatemala's democratic institutions and the Guatemalan public's confidence in its representatives."
"Furthermore, Espa├▒a remains in office despite widespread awareness of his involvement in significant corruption, which reflects a history of impunity in the Republic of Guatemala's government institutions," the State Department said in a statement.
Once foreign officials have been designated by the State Department for their involvement - directly or indirectly - in significant corruption, those individuals and their family members are ineligible from entering the United States.
The State Department noted that the ban also applies to his wife, Liliana Maria Uma├▒a Lemus de Espa├▒a, his daughter, Karol Andrea Espa├▒a Uma├▒a and another unnamed minor child.
"This designation reaffirms US commitment to combatting the corruption and impunity that plagues Guatemala and other nations in the region," the statement added. "The Department will use all available tools to promote accountability for corrupt actors in this region and globally."
Combating corruption in Guatemala and the two other countries of the Northern Triangle has become a cornerstone of the Biden administration's strategy to stem the flow of migrants headed to the United States.
In Guatemala next week, Vice President Kamala Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced the formation of an anti-corruption task force that will include representatives
"We will look to root out corruption wherever it exists because we know that it's not in the best interest of democracy," Harris said during her trip.
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