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Date TimeJuly 27, 2019
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US and Guatemala sign agreement to restrict asylum cases
Donald Trump's administration signed an agreement with Guatemala that will restrict asylum applications to the US from Central America. The "safe third country" agreement would require migrants, including Salvadorans and Hondurans, who cross into Guatemala on their way to the US, to apply for protections in Guatemala instead of at the US border. It could potentially ease the crush of migrants overwhelming the US immigration system, although many questions remain about how the agreement will be executed. Mr Trump on heralded the concession as a win as he struggles to live up to his campaign promises on immigration. "This is a very big day," he said. "We have long been working with Guatemala and now we can do it the right way." He claimed that "this landmark agreement will put the coyotes and smugglers out of business." The announcement comes after a court in California blocked Mr Trump's most restrictive asylum effort to date, one that would effectively end protections at the southern border. Guatemalan migrants at the bus station in McAllen, Texas Credit: Reuters The two countries had been negotiating such an agreement for months, and Mr Trump threatened Wednesday to place tariffs or other consequences on Guatemala if it didn't reach a deal. "We'll either do tariffs or we'll do something. We're looking at something very severe with respect to Guatemala," Mr Trump had said. Following the agreement the US president praised the Guatemalan government, saying now it has "a friend in the United States, instead of an enemy in the United States." He said that as part of the agreement, the US would increase access to the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers from Guatemala. It's not clear how the agreement will take effect. Guatemala's Constitutional Court has granted three injunctions preventing its government from entering into a deal without approval of the country's congress.

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