But it says SAFE third country

That doesn’t sound like a good plan.

Guatemala is a country people are fleeing from.

Reading the UN Dispatch piece:

This is a guest post from Eric Schwartz,  the president of Refugees International. He previously served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

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. This is a terrible idea which, if implemented, will put the lives of thousands of Central Americans at great risk. It is a violation so serious, that as a former assistant Secretary of State in charge of implementing refugee and migration policies,  I took the unusual step of writing a letter to the State Department’s Acting Legal Adviser Marik String, urging he and his office cease involvement in efforts to secure the agreement.

Homework assignment: explain how Canada and Guatemala differ as places offering safe refuge to asylum seekers.

A safe third country agreement is an exercise in responsibility-sharing between two governments on the handling of asylum claims, and the United States currently has only one such agreement—with the government of Canada. Under the arrangement, asylum seekers from any part of the world who enter Canada but then travel to the United States to seek asylum may be returned to Canada for asylum adjudications. Conversely, those who enter the United States and then travel to Canada to seek asylum may be returned to the United States. In other words, the agreement ensures that the asylum seeker’s claim is considered in the country that the asylum seeker has entered first.

People from south of Guatemala mostly go through Guatemala to get here, so the Trump people are playing gotcha.

[F]orcing asylum seekers into Guatemala would almost certainly run afoul of both U.S. and international refugee law, which specify that an asylum seeker may only be transported to a place where his or her “life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” In fact, it is reasonable to expect that individuals being forced into Guatemala pursuant to a safe third country agreement would constitute a particularly vulnerable social group subject to grave risks at the hands of gangs and other criminal elements. Concerns on this score result from the extraordinarily high rates of crime, including homicide, in Guatemala, gang violence, and—perhaps most significantly—the absence of capacity of the government of Guatemala to provide even a modicum of services or security for returned asylum seekers—who would likely be in highly vulnerable situations for extended periods.

Which is why many asylum seekers are seeking asylum from Guatemala. Sending asylum seekers there would be like sending people who are fleeing an erupting volcano to the vicinity of a different erupting volcano.

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