Guatemala and the United States have announced a six-month pilot program to try to curb undocumented immigration through new processing centers.
The "Secure Mobility Offices" will open for appointments on June 12 to facilitate temporary work permits, family reunifications and other legal avenues of entry to the United States, according to a joint statement issued by the countries on Wednesday.
It was unclear from the announcement where in Guatemala these centers will operate.
The announcement follows a visit by a delegation of US officials led by Phil Gordon, the national security advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris.
At the end of April, with Covid-era health emergency protocols that had all but sealed the US-Mexico border for more than three years expiring, Washington announced it would open centers in Guatemala and Colombia to screen would-be migrants and refugees.
The centers are part of an approach by President Joe Biden's administration to walk a political tightrope by expanding access to legal routes into the United States -- and fulfilling Democrats' humanitarian pledges -- while also making it more difficult to claim asylum at ports of entry.
Asylum claims must in most cases be lodged before arriving at the border -- on pain of rapid expulsion.
Last month, Kevin Lopez, the Guatemalan Presidency's secretary of communications, told reporters the centers were being "unilaterally" set up by the United States and might be swamped by migrants once they opened.
He also raised the prospective logistical strain on Guatemala if it suddenly had to house people awaiting a verdict on their applications for asylum in the United States.
In addition to being the country of origin for thousands of people who migrate to the United States each year, Guatemala is also often a transit point for people fleeing poverty or violence in their own countries en route north.
Following the meeting with the US delegation on Wednesday, both governments committed to humanely reducing irregular migration while expanding legal avenues, according to the joint statement.