World: US nears a 'safe third country' pact with Guatemala - PressFrom - US
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WorldUS nears a 'safe third country' pact with Guatemala

04:50  12 july  2019
04:50  12 july  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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WASHINGTON/ GUATEMALA CITY — The United States and Guatemala are close to reaching a safe third country agreement as part of an effort to curb U . S -bound migrants, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, offering no details about when such a deal might be finalized.

The United States and Guatemala are close to reaching a safe third country agreement as part of an effort to curb U . S -bound migrants, U . S . President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, offering no details about when such a deal might be finalized.

US nears a 'safe third country' pact with Guatemala© Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/Getty Images CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO - MAY 20: Migrants cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande river, as they enter El Paso, Texas, on May 20, 2019 as taken from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The location is in an area where migrants frequently turn themselves in and ask for asylum in the U.S. after crossing the border. Approximately 1,000 migrants per day are being released by authorities in the El Paso sector of the U.S.-Mexico border amidst a surge in asylum seekers arriving at the Southern border. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The United States is getting closer to reaching a "safe third country" agreement with Guatemala, according to multiple US sources familiar with the negotiations.

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Nearly 20 years after peace pact , Guatemala 's women relive violence. But as a young mother in rural Guatemala with three children and barely a third grade education, she thought there was no The goal is to provide girls with a safe place to learn about their rights and reach their full potential.

The Canada– United States Safe Third Country Agreement, officially the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America for cooperation in the examination of refugee status claims from nationals of third countries

Such an agreement would require migrants who pass through Guatemala to apply for asylum there, rather than continuing to the US. This would likely have the effect of preventing some migrants from applying for asylum in the US.

"Every week it's closer," said an administration official.

The US and Guatemala have been working daily to reach a safe-third agreement, said the official, who added that there "has been a lot of progress" but also some setbacks in the negotiations.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has advocated this type of agreement. In June, President Donald Trump tweeted that Guatemala was "getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement."

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The United States has such a pact with Canada; it requires asylum seekers to apply for refuge in whichever country they first arrive, since both countries are considered safe . On Thursday, the Mexican official said, the Mexican government indicated it is willing to make asylum changes for the

Officials from both countries are closing in on the agreement amid multiple efforts by the Trump administration to stem the flow of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border. Under US law, migrants are allowed to claim asylum once on US soil.

There's a caveat, however, for those who come through safe third countries, meaning countries the US has entered into an agreement with. The United Nations' refugee agency defines "safe country," in part, as "being countries in which refugees can enjoy asylum without any danger."

Before reaching an agreement, the US is working to make sure there are sufficient protections in place for people who would claim asylum in Guatemala, according to an administration official. There are almost daily phone calls, translating documents back-and-forth to reach an agreement, according to the official.

"ASAP," said a DHS official about the agreement on Thursday.

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The United Nations Global Compact for Safe , Orderly and Regular Migration, slated to be approved While it might seem that such a description would perhaps bring countries together, it Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed a similar sentiment, stating that the pact could “undermine

the Safe Third Country Agreement, a pact that requires individuals claiming asylum to do so in the first safe country they land in, with few exceptions. Safe Third Country Agreement is the subject of ongoing conversations with the U . S . which could lead to proposals to modernize the 14- year -old pact .

The "will is there on both sides" to come to an agreement, added the official, who pointed out that the upcoming runoff election in Guatemala puts additional pressure to get something done in the next few weeks before the administration enters "lame-duck" status.

The push to reach an agreement comes days before Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales will be in Washington. Morales plans to travel to DC on Monday to discuss security, migration and the economy, according to a statement by the country's government on Twitter.

Over recent months, migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have accounted for the majority of apprehensions at the southern border. They've had to transit Mexico to reach the border, and upon arriving in the US some have turned themselves in to Border Patrol and claimed asylum.

Reuters first reported that an agreement was imminent.

"If an agreement is reached, it's a big deal in combating illegal immigration and should lower the monthly apprehension numbers" at the US-Mexico border, said another administration official, who also said the deal appeared close.

A State Department spokesperson for Western Hemisphere Affairs declined to comment on the agreement or discussions with Guatemala.

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