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Guatemala has signed a comprehensive migration reform deal which allows U.S. border officials to legally block asylum claims by migrants who pass through that country, President Donald Trump said Friday.

The migration deal “is going to be terrific for them and terrific for the United States. This landmark agreement will put the coyotes and the smugglers out of business… [and] will usher in a new era and investment and growth for Guatemala,” said Trump.

Pro-migrant groups denounced the deal, which reportedly says the U.S. need not consider asylum claims by migrants who travel through Guatemala. The impact could be huge, because most migrants from Central America, South America, Africa,and Asia travel through Guatemala, as it occupies the full width of the land bridge between Mexico and South America.

The White House



Today, President Trump announced a safe third country agreement with Guatemala that will put human smugglers out of business and provide safety for legitimate asylum seekers.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, described the deal in an Oval Office press conference. Migrants “can make a protection [asylum] claim, if they would like, in Guatemala, so if they arrive in the U.S., not having availed themselves of that authority, they will be returned to Guatemala.”

Adolfo Flores


"They can make a protection claim in Guatemala. So if they arrive in the US not having availed themselves of that opportunity they'll be returned to Guatemala," said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan moments after safe third country announcement

The deal does not bar U.S. asylum claims by people from Guatemala, but Trump’s migration deal with Mexico has largely stoppedmigrants from Guatemala.

The full details of the deal were not immediately released by the administration.

Pro-migration groups are denouncing the deal as illegitimate under U.S. and international laws that govern asylum and migration.

“I saw one report saying that the asylum office in Guatemala has just 12 employees,” said a tweetfrom Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an advocate at the pro-migration Immigration Council. “Over the past few years, Guatemala has averaged 90 asylum applications per year. NINETY. The idea that Guatemala can offer a “full and fair” asylum system to those fleeing persecution is a farce.”

“Guatemala is not a safe country,” said a tweetfrom the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. “250k+ people fled since Oct. Good background here on climate crisis leading to this [New Yorkerarticle]… It has the highest rate of femicide (the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man & on account of her gender) in the world.”

This new agreement with Guatemala puts 100s of thousands of people's lives at risk.


What Trump is doing with these third country agreements violates the principle of asylum and directly leads to people being kidnapped, beaten and sexually abused. …

Steven Portnoy


HAPPENING NOW: Trump presides over signing of document by a Guatemalan official and the acting DHS Secretary. (pool photo credit: @W7VOA)