President Donald Trump announced that his administration reached a “safe third country” deal with Guatemala to help relieve the pressure at the southern border.

Guatemala agreed to allow migrants from El Salvador and Honduras to apply for asylum in the country instead of the U.S. border. In return, the U.S. agreed to expand a guest-worker program with Guatemala.

From The Wall Street Journal:

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.”

Trump threatened tariffs and sanctions on Guatemala unless the country’s officials agreed to help with migrants.

Refugees International President Eric Schwartz slammed the agreement because “Guatemala is in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers.”

Guatemala has a murder rate five times than the U.S. However, the agreement does not mean that the migrants have to stay in Guatemala. McAleenan clearly said that if migrants come to the U.S., but did not apply for the protections, they would go back to the country.

In other words, they can still come to the U.S. Plus the deal opens opportunities for Guatemala. The U.S. will “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.”

The Trump administration and Guatemala did not provide details on how they will implement the agreement. Guatemala’s Congress, which is on a summer recess, must approve any deal between the two countries due to a ruling from the Constitutional Court.


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