Another Immigration Coup for Trump: Guatemala Agrees to Harbor Thousands of Asylum Seekers

Migrants cross the river at the Mexico-U.S. border after pushing past a line of Mexican police at the Chaparral crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Good news for the U.S. and for thousands of asylum seekers who show up at the U.S. border. An immigration official has told the New Yorker that as the result of a deal between the U.S. and Guatemala, “asylum seekers from any country who either show up at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead.”


The U.S. currently has a “remain in Mexico” policy, where the Mexican government agreed to keep several thousand migrants there, even granting work permits so that the asylum seekers could live while waiting for their U.S. court date.

Currently, the backlog of asylum cases is nearing one million. Every single one of those asylum seekers is entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge. Previously, the procedure was to simply give the asylum seeker a court date — now stretching out to five years or more — and let them go on their merry way, free to disappear into the interior of the U.S..

Up to 90% of asylum seekers fail to show up for their court date. With tens of thousands arriving at the U.S. border every month looking for asylum, the agreement with Guatemala would appear to be an ideal solution for everyone concerned.

Um…well, not everyone:

The biggest, and most unsettling, question raised by the agreement is how Guatemala could possibly cope with such enormous demands. More people are leaving Guatemala now than any other country in the northern triangle of Central America. Rampant poverty, entrenched political corruption, urban crime, and the effects of climate change have made large swaths of the country virtually uninhabitable. “This is already a country in which the political and economic system can’t provide jobs for all its people,” McFarland said. “There are all these people, their own citizens, that the government and the political and economic system are not taking care of. To get thousands of citizens from other countries to come in there, and to take care of them for an indefinite period of time, would be very difficult.” Although the U.S. would provide additional aid to help the Guatemalan government address the influx of asylum seekers, it isn’t clear whether the country has the administrative capacity to take on the job.


Yes, there will be problems. Yes, Guatemala is poor and a wretched place to live. (Leaving because of “climate change”? Really?) But wouldn’t it be better for the migrants to be in a country where their native language is spoken? And given the hullabaloo from open borders advocates about the inhumane conditions that many migrants are suffering under in the U.S., would they be better off there — or anywhere — than the U.S.?

The New Yorker headlined this piece, “Trump Is Poised to Sign a Radical Agreement to Send Future Asylum Seekers to Guatemala.” Pray tell, what is so “radical” about this deal? We have a similar deal with Mexico. How can precedent be “radical”?

In truth, the New Yorker headline editor is just displaying the usual bias against any Trump idea that would ease the humanitarian crisis at the border that doesn’t include allowing anyone and everyone to be welcomed with open arms into the U.S. It shows that the left really doesn’t give a good damn about he crisis, but would rather use it to blast a hated political opponent.

Or perhaps they simply can’t stand the idea of another foreign policy success for the president.




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