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President Donald Trump is expected to sign a major immigration deal with Guatemala early next week, The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer reports.
The deal would mean that those seeking asylum in the US could be sent to Guatemala instead.
It's unclear how Guatemala would deal with an influx of migrants. Officials have said that it looks like the agreement is meant to strong-arm Mexico into accepting a similar one with the US.
President Donald Trump is expected to announce a safe-third-country agreement with Guatemala next week, a major immigration deal, reports Jonathan Blitzer of The New Yorker. Blitzer cited a Department of Homeland Security official as his source.
A draft of the deal reportedly obtained by The New Yorker says that people seeking asylum from any country who arrive at US ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead.
The US must give asylum seekers a chance to bring their claims before authorities by law. Under the new agreement, asylum seekers wouldn't have a chance to make their case in the US — instead, any asylum seekers, not only Central Americans, could be sent to Guatemala.
The deal, if signed, would be the latest move by the Trump Administration to limit immigrants entering into the US. On Friday, President Trump released a slew of tweets saying that his immigration deal with Mexico included secret concessions. Trump threatened tariffs on Mexican imports if the country didn't act to slow the flow of Central American migrants from its border.
In the last year, tens of thousands of migrants have sought asylum in the US, according to The New Yorker. The US currently has a backlog of about one million cases in immigration courts.
It is unclear if Guatemala could truly absorb this kind of volume. Trump has attempted to reach a similar agreement with Mexico, even though many immigration activists say that its legal system could not handle the responsibility. The potential agreement with Guatemala goes even further than proposals with Mexico, even though more people are leaving the country than any other in the same part of Central America. The country is coping with poverty, corruption, crime, and climate change which has made large parts of it unlivable.
One reason that Guatemala could be willing to sign on is that the deal includes an exception for Guatemalan migrants, according to The New Yorker. The country is currently in the midst of Presidential elections, which could be why President Jimmy Morales has been willing to negotiate.
The US government has already sent thousands of asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for their cases to be ready in the US. Others at the border have reportedly been subject to poor conditions including little food and water, according to The New York Times.
While the agreement, which an unnamed source told The New Yorker "reads like it was drafted by someone's intern," may be signed soon, it would potentially take much longer to actually enforce. A former Mexican official told The New Yorker, "The U.S. has used the agreement with Guatemala to convince the Mexicans to sign their own safe-third-country agreement."