Safe Third Country Agreement Guatemala
- Posted on April 12, 2021
- in Uncategorized
- by admin
In late May 2019, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) met with the Director of the Guatemalan Institute of Migration (IGM), who requested a “five-year ban” on the readmission of persons transferred from the United States to Guatemala (or takers) as part of a possible agreement, presumably with the aim of preventing takers from returning to the United States.  Last year, tens of thousands of asylum seekers left Guatemala en route to the United States or crossed Guatemala. In mid-June 2019, when the Trump administration released negotiations on the U.S.-Guatemala agreement, it was well aware (based on an assessment by the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala) that Guatemala was “one of the most dangerous countries in the world” and that there were a few hundred cases of delays in Guatemala`s very rudimentary asylum system.  Human Rights Watch spoke with a woman and her two sons (17 and 11 years old) from Honduras. Due to a series of gang threats against them, they had moved four times to different locations inside Honduras. At the last place they lived, the woman said, she was told to pay a “war tax” every Thursday. When the gang gave her a note saying they would take her youngest son out of school if she didn`t pay, she decided to go to the United States to claim asylum. She said they could not go home, but she said she didn`t know anyone in Guatemala and couldn`t support her children. She said she didn`t know what to do next.  A Honduran taker told Human Rights Watch that when an agent gave her the I-296 exit form for signature, she asked her what the document was for, and he told her, “It`s about continuing your business.”  A honduran man fled the country with his wife and granddaughter after his father`s murder and death threats. He told Refugees International that a CBP officer had signed the form for him after he was refused.
 A transferred couple told Refugees International that they thought until they signed the form, they could apply for asylum in Guatemala in the United States.  Although this form was given, several takers said that they thought they were being transferred within the United States and that they did not know that they had been transported to Guatemala until they arrived.  “There are a lot of different and totally opposite opinions and rumors about [the agreement], and that makes communities and communities very nervous,” Viscarra said. “We hear that it produces exactly the opposite response to what the U.S. government is trying to achieve.