U.S. - Guatemala Safe-Third Country Agreement Risks Endangering Asylum

July 26, 2019

WASHINGTON—Today, the White House announced that the United States and Guatemala have signed a Safe Third Country agreement requiring that asylum seekers traveling through Guatemala on their way to the United States be returned to Guatemala and forced to first seek protection there. The agreement would not apply to unaccompanied children or Guatemalans but would likely apply to many other asylum seekers who cross through Guatemala en route to the United States.

If implemented, the deal would endanger many Central Americans by sending them back to Guatemala to apply for asylum in a country where there is virtually no system equipped to handle their requests and where they face serious threats of harm.

The following statement is from Royce Murray, managing director of programs at the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s agreement between the United States and Guatemala could put thousands of lives at risk and threatens the very foundations of our asylum system. Guatemala’s under-resourced asylum system cannot realistically process large numbers of asylum seekers nor provide them a full and fair opportunity to make their claims for protection.

“A Safe Third Country agreement with Guatemala is yet another attack on our asylum system and demonstrates the Trump administration’s heavy-handed and relentless effort to turn away asylum seekers at the border. No person should be forced to seek protection in a country ill-equipped to hear their claims and that fails to protect its own citizens.”


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at [email protected] or 202-507-7526

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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