US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose sanctions on Guatemala after the country decided not to proceed with a safe third country agreement that would have required Guatemala to accept more asylum seekers, Reuters has reported.
Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States, has decided to break the deal they had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement. We were ready to go. Now we are looking at the “BAN,”....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
....Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
Last month the US Department of Homeland Security said it would deploy up to 89 agents to Guatemala by late August under a joint agreement to curb illegal migration and boost security on the border. This was announced following the deal signed by acting US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart on 27 May.
The US views Guatemala, Mexico and some other countries in the region as possible buffer zones where refugees could stay instead of trying to enter the US. Suffering from a population shortage due to emigration, Guatemala was considering joining the Safe Third Country agreement with the US.
According to Reuters, the government of Guatemala was expected to hold a summit with Trump during which Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales would sign the agreement, but the country's constitutional court blocked Morales from going ahead.