The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that many Mexicans who are seeking asylum in the US would be deported to Guatemala. Apart from these Mexicans, several other nationalities coming from El Salvador and Honduras were also included in the list of the DHS’ plan for deportation to Guatemala.
US-Mexico Immigration Deal
After Donald Trump came into power, the US government under his leadership strongly advocated forging a deal on immigration with the neighboring country, Mexico. The US Government under the Trump administration had also signed deals on immigration with other countries including El Salvador and Honduras in 2019. Accordingly, the US and Mexico signed a controversial deal on immigration in July 2019 on several conditions.
Under the agreement, two main themes were highlighted- the deployment of Mexican National Guard (MNG) especially in the southern border with the US and allowing asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. The controversial deal was part of Trump’s efforts to curb migrants coming from Mexico to the US. In a statement released by the US DHS, a spokesperson said in on Monday, January 6, 2020, “Certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protection in the United States may now be eligible to be transferred to Guatemala and given the opportunity to seek protection there.”
The US deported plan could take the trouble of putting Mexican refugees-seekers in the US to travel from El Paso in Texas crossing the border from Ciudad Juarez and finally deliver them to Guatemala which would cover the distance of 2,500 km. According to Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for the Guatemalan immigration institute told Reuters news agency, since the US began implementing the immigration deal in November 2019, nearly 52 Mexican migrants had been deported to Guatemala. She continued saying that out of them, only six have applied for asylum in the country.
US’ Deportation Plan for Asylum Seekers
The US DHS has announced that some Mexican migrants also could now face deportation to Guatemala. The Department of Homeland Security explained that the deportation of Mexicans asylum seekers was pursued as per the deal signed by the Trump administration and his Mexican counterpart in July last year. It was also mentioned in the DHS policy that those migrants from El Salvador and Honduras who were seeking refugees in the US should go back and seek asylum in Guatemala first.
Mexican Government strongly condemned the announcement and said it could affect hundreds of migrants seeking refugees in the US. Many analysts observed that several migrants were coming to the US to escape from the violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As per the report by the World Bank, “Guatemala has five times murder rate as compared to the US.” Several critics also explained that migrants would be at risk of going to Guatemala since the country lacked resources to provide such large immigrants.
As a response, Mexico’s foreign ministry condemned the US recent policy and said around 900 asylum seekers could be affected from February 2020 by the new immigration policy. As described by the ministry, the Mexican government would closely monitor “human rights set out in the international agreements signed and ratified” between the two countries. According to the US Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrants in the US-Mexico border sharply declined in the second part of 2019 as Mexico started deploying its MNG forces at the border.
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