This is a great piece from The Intercept. It’s as long as it is disturbing, so I put it in a reading room:
LAST NOVEMBER, the United States began sending Salvadoran and Honduran asylum-seekers to Guatemala, telling them, in effect, to try their luck there. The transfers were conducted under an agreement with Guatemala, one of a series of deals with Central American countries, and one which promoted the idea that Guatemala is a “safe third country” for people fleeing violence — even though its asylum program barely functions and many Guatemalans are themselves heading north to escape violence, corruption, and persecution.
The asylum agreement faced protests and legal challenges, but the U.S. persisted and Guatemala, under the new presidency of Alejandro Giammattei, eventually acquiesced. Nearly 1,000 Honduran and Salvadoran asylum-seekers were sent to Guatemala before the program was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A new report from Refugees International and Human Rights Watch finds that those asylum-seekers were poorly treated by U.S. border officials, misinformed about the program and their prospects of getting into the U.S., and left without resources when they reached Guatemala. According to the Guatemalan government, only 20 of the 939 people sent to Guatemala under the so-called Asylum Cooperative Agreement, or ACA, have actually applied for asylum there.
The report also argues that U.S. is violating domestic and international law by sending people to dangerous conditions in Guatemala without first hearing their asylum claims.