We told you on Wednesday that the new agreement struck with Guatemala, whereby asylum seekers at the U.S. border are sent to that country instead, is targeting citizens of Honduras and El Salvador.
Now add Mexico to the list.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that Guatemala has agreed to accept Mexican nationals for asylum consideration, in addition to the citizens of its fellow Northern Triangle nations. The agreement is important because, when confronted with the MPP, or Remain in Mexico, option, some asylum seekers have claimed they are afraid of lawlessness on the Mexican side of the border. Removing them to Guatemala eliminates that problem.
While critics have decried the agreement, arguing that Guatemala is unsafe, the Morales government has fulfilled the requirements necessary to ensure that their asylum system is “full and fair.” Safety, in fact, is one of the program’s selling points. As Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement: “We are building protections that will be available to the region’s vulnerable populations closer to home — eliminating the need to make the dangerous journey north and lining the pockets of transnational criminal organizations.”
Earlier this week, President Trump and Melania hosted Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales and his wife at the White House, where Trump thanked his guest publicly for his help with the crisis. Morales replied, saying, “By no means we can endanger minors or populations who are vulnerable to coming to the border illegally.”
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