Reports: U.S., Guatemala Negotiate Legal Wall Against Migrants

Saturday, June 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

14 Jun 2019

U.S. and Guatemalan officials are negotiating a “safe third country” agreement which would bar the movement of U.S.-bound migrants through Guatemala, say press reports.

Under the terms of the [draft] agreement, migrants fleeing persecution in El Salvador and Honduras would be required to seek asylum in Guatemala, a gateway to Mexico and the United States,” said the June 13 report by Voice of America News.

With few exceptions, those who continue north to the U.S. without testing their chances in Guatemala would be sent back to Guatemala by U.S. immigration authorities

The White House finalized the draft agreement Monday, according to the source, and the agreement was expected to be presented to Guatemala officials as early as Thursday [June 13] — three days before a first round of presidential elections in that country.

A “safe third country” deal declares that migrants must apply for asylum in the first safe country they reach — and it allows the quick rejection of asylum claims if the migrants request asylum in more distant countries, such as the United States.

From March to June, roughly 350,000 migrants used Congress’s border loopholes to walk through the border and into Americans’ blue-collar workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods. The low-wage migrants will provide cheaper services and higher stock values to upper-income Americans.

U.S. government officials declined to comment, VOA reported:

The pending agreement with Guatemala, if signed, would be the first such agreement with a Latin American country in U.S. history. In response to written questions about the draft agreement, a State Department spokesperson for Western Hemisphere Affairs told VOA Thursday that “The U.S. team currently in Guatemala is working with Guatemalan counterparts to explore a full range of initiatives to advance this agenda, including capacity building, strengthening of local institutions, and improved asylum processing,” adding, “We will not disclose further details of ongoing, private diplomatic conversations.”

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