US to ship Mexican migrants to Guatemala as a part of asylum deal

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The Division of Homeland Safety introduced Thursday that Guatemala has agreed to take Mexican nationals searching for asylum as a part of a “secure third nation” settlement signed with the U.S. earlier this 12 months that sees migrants despatched to the Central American nation to say asylum.

“America and the Authorities of Guatemala are working carefully collectively to proceed implementation of the Asylum Cooperative Settlement,” Performing DHS Secretary Chad Wolf mentioned in a press release. “We’re constructing protections that can be obtainable to the area’s susceptible populations nearer to house — eliminating the necessity to make the harmful journey north and lining the pockets of transnational felony organizations.”

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BEGINS SENDING MIGRANTS TO GUATEMALA AS PART OF ‘SAFE THIRD COUNTRY’ AGREEMENT

“As we absolutely implement the settlement, all populations are being thought-about, together with Mexican nationals,” he mentioned.

The settlement, negotiated earlier this 12 months, is a part of a collection of regional agreements with nations by the Trump administration in order to stem the circulate of migrants to the southern border. DHS has additionally secured agreements with Mexico and El Salvador in current months.

The settlement with Guatemala has been phased in since November, when flights started sending migrants from Honduras and El Salvador to the nation after the U.S. established that its asylum insurance policies meet the factors of getting a “full and honest” asylum system.

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DHS officers beforehand advised Fox Information that no migrants can be pressured to go to Guatemala, as a substitute being given the choice of being despatched again to their house nations or ready in Mexico below the Migrant Safety Protocols (MPP) — whereby migrants wait within the nation whereas their U.S. asylum claims are processed.

The brand new expanded settlement with Guatemala now provides officers one other avenue for Mexican asylum seekers who couldn’t be positioned in MPP as a result of they declare a worry of persecution or violence in the event that they have been to be returned to Mexico. As a substitute of them then being allowed to await their hearings within the U.S., they may now be despatched to Guatemala.

Migrant rights teams and humanitarian teams have expressed concern in regards to the Guatemala deal and different such agreements, claiming they may ship susceptible migrants into harmful nations that wouldn’t have the capability to maintain them secure. The U.N.’s refugee company mentioned final month that the method was “at variance with worldwide legislation” and mentioned that it was in contact with the federal government to specific their issues.

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Guatemalan Inside Minister Enrique Degenhart advised reporters final week that thus far 24 folks have been despatched to the nation below this system — however that solely two in the end requested asylum there. Reuters reported that officers have additionally been advised to not ship some teams there, equivalent to unaccompanied kids or migrants with legitimate U.S. paperwork.

Regardless of protests from humanitarian teams, the administration has hailed the agreements as a part of a group of insurance policies which have led to a dramatic lower in migrant flows to the border, and a drop in detentions there. Numbers launched by the administration this month present that the variety of apprehensions on the border has plummeted by greater than 70 p.c since Might.

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