President Trump announces agreement with Guatemala to deal with asylum-seekers

27 Juillet, 2019, 01:35 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • President Trump announces agreement with Guatemala to deal with asylum-seekers

After months of negotiations and threats, President Donald Trump said Friday he has reached a "safe third country" agreement with Guatemala created to reduce the number of migrants claiming asylum in the United States.

"We've always been working with Guatemala, and now we can do it the right way", Trump said in remarks in the Oval Office.

Trump made the announcement before reporters in the Oval Office as Guatemalan interior minister Enrique Degenhart signed the agreement.

Earlier this month, Guatemala's high court blocked its government from signing the deal with the United States, which led to Trump's threats. "So we were able to get this done and we got it done fairly quickly". Mexico also is working along with us very nicely. "You'll see a chart where the numbers are really through the-through the floor, I should say, because they're going down".

The president has pushed Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in the region to act as buffer zones, sparing the overwhelmed southern USA border from wave after wave of Central American migrants.

"Simply put, Guatemala is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers, as the law requires", he said.

Under the deal, he said, Hondurans and Salvadorans who arrive in Guatemala will be 'in a country that has a fair proceeding for assessing asylum claims.

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Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said the agreement aims to slow "irregular migration".

The third country agreement would affect many.

But the decision is already being criticized by some humanitarian groups.

President Trump announced Friday that Guatemala has agreed to sign a so-called "safe third country asylum agreement" as part of Trump's strategy for reducing the flow of migrants to the U.S.

Rep. Norma J. Torres, the only member of Congress born in Guatemala, declared the agreement "ridiculous". But immigrant advocates and outside experts have warned that Guatemala does not meet the legal definitions of a "safe" country. Refugees International President Eric Schwartz condemned the announcement as in violation of USA law and declared Guatemala unsafe for migrants.

He went on to say that the agreement "violates USA law and will put some of the most vulnerable people in Central America in grave danger", and further, the arrangement "would make a mockery of the notion that those fleeing persecution in Central America have any recourse". "The idea that Guatemala would be a safe country for refugees from Cuba, Africa, or other countries is ridiculous and everyone knows it. This is an insult to common sense".

Trump administration officials have been lobbying intensely for months to get Guatemala to accept a sweeping migration agreement amid continued frustration over near-record numbers of Central American families and unaccompanied minors arriving to the USA southern border.

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