(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said his administration is examining tariffs, remittance fees, and other sanctions against Guatemala after he said the country backed out of an agreement to become a “safe third country” to slow the flow of undocumented migrants to the U.S.
The threat from the U.S. president comes after the government of Guatemala said earlier this month it was postponing a visit by President Jimmy Morales to Washington and had no plans to sign such a deal amid legal challenges.
The Trump administration has been eager to secure a safe-third-country deal that would obligate Guatemala to offer asylum to migrants who entered its territory. That means many of those leaving Honduras and El Salvador could be prevented from claiming asylum status in the U.S., because they had previously been able to make a refugee appeal somewhere else.
A draft copy of the agreement obtained by the New Yorker also stated the U.S. could send asylum seekers from any country to Guatemala, including those who never traveled through the country in the first place.
Trump did not explain what he meant by a “BAN,” but his administration previously has restricted entry to the U.S. by citizens of a group of countries -- most Muslim-majority -- that the administration says pose a security risk.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Trump administration announced earlier this year it was cutting off foreign aid to Guatemala -- as well as El Salvador and Honduras -- because the president was frustrated the countries weren’t doing enough to slow the flow of migrants entering the U.S. Trump also threatened Mexico with tariffs over the immigration flows, though an eventual agreement struck with the Mexican government to beef up internal security did not include a safe-third-country element.
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