Saturday, July 27, 2019

U.S., Guatemala Reach Safe Third Country Agreement on Asylum Seekers

Photo: Moises Castillo/Associated Press
Pact requires migrants traveling through Guatemala on the way to the U.S. to seek asylum in the Central American nation
Under pressure from the Trump administration, Guatemala agreed to become a gatekeeper for Central American asylum seekers trying to get to the U.S.
The agreement would require that migrants traveling through Guatemala on the way to the U.S. seek asylum in Guatemala instead of at the U.S.-Mexico border. President Trump joined Guatemala’s interior minister, Enrique Degenhart, and Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan in the Oval Office to sign what White House officials said was a safe third-country agreement.
“They can make a protection claim, if they would like, in Guatemala,” Mr. McAleenan said. “So, if they arrive in the U.S. not having availed themselves of that opportunity, they will be returned to Guatemala.”
Mr. Trump said the agreement will help address “the crippling crisis on our border.” He added that the U.S. and Guatemala now “get along.”
Guatemala’s government said Friday the agreement seeks to prevent the threat of U.S. sanctions that would have inflicted severe economic and social damage to Guatemala. Under the deal, Guatemala will implement a plan to give asylum to migrants from Honduras and El Salvador. In exchange, Guatemala’s government said, the U.S. government agreed to expand an agricultural guest-worker program for Guatemalans, allowing them to travel legally to the U.S. The guest-worker program will also include construction and service-sector workers in subsequent stages.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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