U.S. Negotiating for Safe Third Country Agreement with Guatemala

A Voice of America Report on June 13, 2019, indicated that the Trump Administration had purportedly finalized an agreement with Guatemala that would prevent asylum-seekers from passing through Guatemala to the United States without first seeking asylum in Guatemala.  This agreement, known as a “safe third country” agreement, would presumably ease the flow of Central American asylum-seekers into the United States.  It is an open question as to whether the outgoing Guatemalan administration will sign the agreement, but VOA speculated that Guatemala had more to gain than lose by signing the pact.

That being said, VOA then reported on June 14, 2019, that the agreement had hit a snag. Allegedly, Guatemala did not understand that it would be obligated to actually process the asylum claims of individuals returned to Guatemala pursuant to the agreement, which supposedly presented legal and constitutional issues for the Guatemalan government.  As of now, this issue is still under discussion, but a true “safe third country” agreement seems to be off the table in the short term.

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