Guatemala court blocks signing of migration deal with US | 2019-07-16

Guatemala court blocks signing of migration deal with US

16 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

GUATEMALA CITY: Guatemala’s constitutional court late Sunday granted an injunction blocking President Jimmy Morales from signing a migration deal with the United States which would oblige it to offer asylum to migrants heading to the US border, reports AFP.

Morales, who was under pressure at home not to seal the deal, earlier Sunday called off White House talks with Donald Trump with just a day to spare, his office announced.

The meeting scheduled for Monday in Washington was pushed back due to “speculation” about the signing of a possible deal and to await the decision of the court on legal actions filed over it, the Guatemalan government said in a statement.

On Sunday night the constitutional court granted a provisional injunction to prevent Guatemala constituting itself as a “safe third country”.

The court’s ruling indicated any such agreement should first be approved by the Central American nation’s Congress.

As a “safe third country”, Guatemala would be obliged to offer asylum to any migrants entering its territory on the way to the United States.

Many migrants from Honduras and El Salvador cross Guatemala, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, to reach Mexico on their route to the US border.

The Guatemalan government had announced Morales’ visit last week, saying it would touch on immigration and security issues, but never offered details about what he and Trump would discuss.

Guatemalan officials did acknowledge that talks on a “safe third country” agreement were underway, leading to swirling speculation.