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  • Human rights defenders holding photos of migrant children who died in U.S. custody protest protest at the Paso del Norte international border bridge, June 27, 2019.

    Human rights defenders holding photos of migrant children who died in U.S. custody protest protest at the Paso del Norte international border bridge, June 27, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 June 2019

"Guatemala has neither the economy nor possibilities of being able to support a number of migrants of that nature."

Guatemala's Vice President Jafeth Cabrera stated on Thursday  that his country cannot become a Safe Third Country (STC) and host thousands of migrants, as the situation in Central America becomes dire for those fleeing north.

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US Pressures Guatemala to Accept Being 'Safe Third Country'

"Guatemala has neither the economy nor possibilities of being able to support a number of migrants of that nature," Cabrera told EFE and explained that his country did not offer the U.S. to become a STC.

"What we are doing is proposing a commission that analyzes all migration problems and facilitates the migrants' return through legal processes without arresting them," he added.

These statements contradict what the Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart said a day earlier when he confirmed that his country had agreed to continue discussing the TSC issue.

This announcement happened at the conclusion of the 7th Central American Northern Triangle Security Meeting, where the ministers of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras discussed immigration issues with the U.S. National Security acting secretary Kevin McAleenan.

While Degenhart admitted that President Donald Trump administration had raised an offer "extremely beneficial" to Guatemala, Cabrera held that the issue of migrants staying in his country "has not been talked about" and "they have misrepresented the processes which were raised."

He also said that Central Americans have no problem entering Guatemala because his country is part of a regional agreement which facilitates human mobility. However, "individuals from other continents have come within these large migration flows. They do have to meet certain requirements."

Vice President Cabrera stressed that it is necessary to form an international commission to analyze how Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, the United States and Mexico could manage to "establish mechanisms to regulate” massive migration flows.​​​​​​​

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Thursday a US$4.6 billion aid package for the U.S. southern border, where the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) have sent over 15,000 asylum seekers to Mexican cities while waiting for U.S. courts to process their applications.

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