Official: Guatemala hasn’t agreed to be safe third country

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A Cabinet official says Guatemala has not agreed to become a so-called “safe third country” for migrants seeking asylum as suggested by U.S. President Donald Trump, but it is taking steps to tackle migrant smuggling.

Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart said Tuesday that discussions continue with the U.S. to find measures that work for both countries.

Under a safe third country agreement, migrants fleeing their countries would have to request asylum in the first “safe” country they arrive in. In Guatemala’s case that could mean thousands of migrants from Honduras and El Salvador. Critics have noted that Guatemala suffers similar gang violence as those countries.

Trump on Monday tweeted that “Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement.” The U.S. is seeking a similar agreement with Mexico.

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