U.S. Now Sending Some Asylum-Seekers To Guatemala

A man from Honduras became the first asylum-seeker deported by the U.S. under the agreement. He arrived in Guatemala Thursday morning.
Posted at 7:07 AM, Nov 22, 2019

Central American migrants who seek asylum in the U.S. now risk being deported to Guatemala. 

That's because the Trump administration's new asylum deal with Guatemala went into effect earlier this week. A man from Honduras became the first asylum-seeker deported by the U.S. under the agreement. He arrived in Guatemala Thursday morning.  

The U.S. brokered the deal with Guatemala back in July. Under it, migrants journeying through Guatemala en route to the U.S. are forced to apply for asylum in Guatemala instead.

The Trump administration is trying to cut down on the number of migrants entering the U.S. through its border with Mexico. The White House has signed similar "safe third country" agreements with El Salvador and Honduras. 

The deals all fall in line with an administration rule issued this summer that adds "a new bar to eligibility" for asylum-seekers who didn't apply for protections in at least one "third country" on their way to the U.S. border.

The U.N.'s refugee agency defines a "safe country" as a place where "refugees can enjoy asylum without any danger." But critics say Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras don't meet that requirement. U.S. travel advisories for all three countries currently warn that "violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder, is common."

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.