U.S. Law Center

A look at Guatemala as a safe third country

Some California residents may be curious to see how the "safe third country" deal will play out. It seems that the Trump administration is getting closer to finalizing this agreement, which means that sending asylum-seekers who arrive at U.S. borders back to Guatemala could take place sooner than later.

The idea behind the "safe third country" deal is that when asylum-seekers arrive at the U.S. border, they will be sent back to other countries they pass through, like Guatemala, no matter where their journey started. Other deals have been struck with countries like El Salvador and Honduras, but agreements with these countries have not yet been implemented.

Asylum seekers who traveled through Guatemala would be sent back to that country under the understanding that it could offer protection for individuals who are looking for refuge. However, the idea of this country being deemed as safe doesn't seem to sit well with everyone.

Many Guatemalan citizens have actually fled their own country because of violence and poverty. In the year 2018, around 33,000 Guatemalans fled to the United States looking for asylum according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. The country is one of the most dangerous in the world and deals with poverty, gang violence, organized crime, drug trafficking activity, a heavily armed population and an alarmingly high murder rate.

Individuals who have fled from Guatemala to the United States because of gang violence may wish to speak with an attorney. The attorney may help a client seek asylum in the United States and keep asylum seekers up to date with changes that are taking place in the government. The attorney may be able to help prove credible fear and assert that an individual was experiencing persecution or in some other way feared for their life.

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