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Trump Administration Begins Deportations to Guatemala

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The Trump administration has begun deporting migrants who seek refuge in the U.S. to Guatemala. This comes as part of an agreement with the Guatemalan government aimed at requiring asylum-seekers from other countries to request protection in the Central American country. Guatemala is a country known for having one of the highest rates of poverty and malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere.

The new agreement, known as the “Safe Third Country”, went into effect on November 19th. Under the new rules put in place to implement the agreement, there is only one way individuals can avoid getting sent to Guatemala. They must prove to an asylum officer that it is “more likely than not” they will be persecuted or tortured in Guatemala.

For those currently in detention and those without legal representation, this will be a standard highly unlikely to be achieved/proven.

The agreement with Guatemala applies to all people who enter the U.S. without admission, regardless of whether they ask for asylum at a port of entry or crossing the border.

There is also nothing in the agreement that limits it to people who have first traveled through Guatemala on their way to the United States. This raises fears that the agreement could be applied against Mexicans too.

For now, the United States will only deport nationals from Honduras and El Salvador who pass through Guatemala.

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