August 23, 2019
Guatemala Minister of the Interior, Enrique Antonio Degenhart, and U.S. Deputy Director of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan visited the immigration center at La Peñita, where thousands of immigrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East arrive seeking asylum. Degenhart and McAleenan signed a joint memorandum to improve cooperation on preventing and combating crime and other threats to national security between Guatemala and the United States, furthermore, they confirmed that once the Congress of Guatemala approves the “third safe country” agreement, Guatemala’s immigration centers will receive Hondurans and Salvadorians refugees and asylum seekers.
Although the newly elected president, Alejandro Giammattei, has declared that the agreement needs some modifications for its approval, McAleenan assured that the current U.S. Administration is always open to dialogue.
Guatemala lacks infrastructure, resources, and staff to properly process refugees, asylum seekers and detainees at the immigration centers, it is hard to believe that the third safe country agreement would improve the conditions of the deportees.