President Trump announced Friday that Guatemala would agree to restrict asylum applications to the US from Central America.
The so-called “safe third country” agreement would require migrants, including Salvadorans and Hondurans, who cross into Guatemala on their way to the US to apply for protections in Guatemala instead of at the southern border.
It could potentially ease the crush of illegal immigrants overwhelming the US immigration system and hand Trump a win in his effort to fulfill his campaign promises to restrict illegal entry.
“This is a very big day. We have long been working with Guatemala and now we can do it the right way,” Trump said.
“This landmark agreement will put the coyotes and smugglers out of business.”
The announcement came after a federal judge court in California blocked Trump’s most restrictive asylum effort to date, one that would effectively end protections at the southern border.
The two countries had been negotiating such an agreement for months, and Trump threatened Wednesday to place tariffs or other consequences on Guatemala if it didn’t reach a deal.
“We’ll either do tariffs or we’ll do something. We’re looking at something very severe with respect to Guatemala,” Trump had said.