16:01 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Migrants on rafts reach the Mexico shore after crossing the Suchiate river on the Guatemala – Mexico border, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

    US, Guatemala Sign Safe Third Country Asylum Agreement

    © AP Photo / Marco Ugarte
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    On Friday, US and Guatemalan representatives signed a safe third country asylum agreement, an agreement typically made between two countries that requires migrants and refugees to seek asylum in the first safe country they enter.

    Under a safe third country agreement, asylum seekers would have to seek protection in the first country they reach rather than in their final, intended destination. Under the terms of the deal, the US could deport migrants to the first safe country they had reached. 

    ​According to US President Donald Trump, the agreement would allow migrants "easier access" to work on US farms and ranches, Reuters reported.

    ​Trump also noted that Guatemala's signing of the agreement would limit US asylum applications from Central America, and that the administration plans to sign safe third country agreements with other nations soon.

    Guatemalan government officials also announced Friday that the deal with the US, which "aims to counter social and economic repercussions," will also be applicable to Honduran and Salvadoran citizens, Reuters reported. The goal under the agreement, according to the Guatemalan government is to grant visas to Guatemalans so they can work in the construction and service industries "in the medium to long-term," Reuters states. Guatemalan government officials also published documents Friday revealing that the agreement with the US will last for at least two years and can be renewed. The document will be reviewed every three months. The migration accord will not be applicable to Guatemalan citizens or nationals seeking asylum.

    ​The signing of the agreement between the United States and Guatemala comes a few days after Trump threatened to impose tariffs on the country if it did not sign the deal.

    ​The US has seen caravans of migrants from Central American countries arriving through Mexico since last year. In February, Trump called the situation a crisis and declared a national emergency in order to seek funding for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

     

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    Asylum, deal, migrants, Guatemala, United States
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