Donald Trump receives $ 2.5 billion in federal wall funding, claiming a big win for his immigration agenda: a treaty designating Guatemala as safe for asylum seekers.
On Friday afternoon, the US and Guatemala signed in Guatemala instead.
According to a new rule implemented by the Trump administration earlier this month, people seeking asylum at the US border want to be turned they are passed through another safe country – a "safe third country," as they are called – before reaching the United States.
Secretary of State Enrique Degenhart and Trump, acting agent Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, technically designates Guatemala as a safe third country.
The signing ceremony on Twitter [http://www.global-pictures.org/]is currently being published by the United States.
Today, President Trump announces a safe third country agreement with Guatemala that will put human smugglers out of business and provide safety for legitimate asylum seekers. pic.twitter.com/ENAifXfvRz
– The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 26, 2019
Jimmy Morales, a canceled visit to Washington from Guatemala's President, and threats from the Trump administration of tariffs.
Trump celebrates the treaty as a victory on Friday, calling it a "landmark agreement" that wants to "put the coyotes and smugglers out of business."
Morales was less optimistic, saying on social media on Friday that the deal wants to help Guatemala escape "drastic sanctions."
Many details of the agreement, which would last for two years, remain murky. Guatemalans seeking asylum, Spanish-language version of the agreement released on Twitter. The White House has not released its own version of the agreement.
The new policy would, "with few exceptions, make it extraordinarily difficult for anyone not coming from Mexico or on a plane to be eligible for asylum in the US, "Vox's Jen Kirby has reported. And it has been controversial since talks between the US and Guatemala began earlier this summer.
Guatemala has similar levels of gang-related violence as its neighbors; MS-13 and other gangs operate across all three countries. Migrants from the three countries have contributed to the spike in border crossings in the past year, with nearly 150,000 asylum-seeking families arriving from Guatemala since October 2018, by contrast to US Customs and Border Protection figures.
By contrast, 262 people applied for asylum in Guatemala between January and November 2018, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.
"Guatemala is in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers, and all the strong-arming in the world will not make it so," said Eric Schwartz, President of Refugees International, in a statement. "This agreement also violates US law and wants to put some of the most vulnerable people in Central America in grave danger."
The prospect of such a treaty faced opposition to within Guatemala. The country's highest court grants three times to stop its government signing an agreement without congressional approval. Guatemala's President, postponed a scheduled visit to Washington.
"The government of the republic reiterates that it does not sign an agreement to convert Guatemala into a safe third country," the government
Following that statement, Trump has begun ramping up public threats of tariffs against the Central American nation, already one of the continent's poorest countries.
Guatemala, which has been forming caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States, has decided to break the deal. We were ready to go. Now we're looking at the "BAN," ….
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
…. Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above , Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. 9 months ago.
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
With the signing of the treaty, those threats are, for now, off the table. Part of the agreement also wants to increase access to temporary worker visas, known as H-2A visas, for Guatemalan farmworkers.
The pressure on Guatemala stems in the recent US-Mexico deal that sent 6,000 members of Mexico's National Guard to that country's southern border, shared with Guatemala. That deal, too, resulted in a threat of high tariffs on Mexican imports. According to Reuters, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign minister, other countries, including neighboring Guatemala, to their part following Mexico.
"They're doing what we've asked them to do. I think it's going to be a great thing for Guatemala, "Trump said during the signing ceremony. "They do not want the problems either."
For one thing, the Guatemalan high court's injunctions stood still.
McAleenan, the Acting Homeland Security Secretary.
McAleenan, the Acting Homeland Security Secretary, is widely available , he said that the agreement will be ratified and recognized within the next several weeks.
"At the moment, it is not."
Search confusion could harm migrants, propose the statement from Refugees International clear exactly what arrangement has been reached in light of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court's provisional decision against a third country agreement, "Schwartz went on to say. "But the president's statements on this are the deepest concern.
And should passing through Guatemala lead to rejection in the US, asylum seekers may be tempted to find other, more dangerous routes north. Honduras to Belize, or even straight to Mexico.
Although the agreement has not been finalized, it has not been implemented. 19659032] With US activists and Democratic politicians decrying the deal, lawsuits are expected to follow. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the agreement "illegal."
"Simply put, Guatemala is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers, as the law requires," he
And lawyers from the ACLU, which has pleaded with the US Attorney-at-Law as a whole, claims.
"Guatemala can not offer a safe and fair trial, and nobody could plausibly Argue otherwise, "the ACLU's Lee learned told The New York Times.
Guatemalan politicians wants to be left to navigate their own court challenges. Because the agreement is not officially called a "safe third country" agreement, Morales may have hoped to skirt the letter, if not the spirit, of the court's injunctions. However, it is not clear whether it is its administration or the agreement.
Adding to the tumult, Guatemala is in the midst of a presidential election. The next leg will take place on August 11, and term-limited Morales will leave office in January. Both candidates have criticized the deal; one called the agreement "irresponsible" and the other has a lot to say about it.
Whoever wins wants to be tasked with defending the deal in Guatemala's courts, and well as figuring out how to implement it. If they do not scrap it completely, that is.