The Guatemalan American population in the USA in 2009 was estimated by the US Census Bureau at 1,081,858 (+/-36,453). Guatemalans are the 2nd largest national subgroup of Central Americans in the USA (after the El Salvadorans).
The intensification of the Guatemalan Civil War during the 1970s and 1980s led to an influx of tens of thousands of Guatemalan refugees into the United States via Mexico, via both legal and illegal means. Guatemalan refugees became an important political and economic influence on seeking an end to the civil war, which finally came about in 1996. They also organized to change policies of the Mexican government in dealing with Guatemalan immigrants' legal status, their experience in Mexico, and difficulties of Guatemalans in Mexico immigrating to the US.