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.