Today's announcement that the Trump Administration has reached a “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala is very alarming. As Refugees International has previously stated, Guatemala is in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers, and all the strong-arming in the world won’t make it so.
In a particularly egregious violation of law and common decency, the Trump White House is pressing U.S. diplomats to negotiate a “safe third country agreement” with Guatemala. If implemented, it will put the lives of thousands of Central Americans at great risk. Alarmed, Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, took the unusual step of writing a letter to the State Department’s top acting lawyer, urging he and his office cease involvement in efforts to secure the agreement.
In an unusual letter to the State Department’s top acting lawyer, Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, has urged officials of the Department’s office of the legal adviser to “cease their involvement in efforts to secure” a safe third country agreement with the government of Guatemala.
From the massive migration of an estimated 70,000 unaccompanied children to the U.S. border this past summer to President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform, issues facing Central America have entered the national spotlight here in the US. The underlying internal displacement trends within Central America have not received as much attention, but are perhaps even more important as they reveal a frightening relationship between gang violence and forced migration within Central America.