Asylum Agreement Between the US and Guatemala: What You Need to Know

In July 2019, the United States and Guatemala entered into an asylum agreement, which allows the US to send asylum seekers who pass through Guatemala to seek asylum there instead of in the US. This agreement was made in an effort to alleviate the burden of the United States on managing the influx of migrants in recent years.

What is the asylum agreement between the US and Guatemala?

At its core, the agreement stipulates that the United States can deport migrants from countries south of the US-Mexico border to Guatemala if they passed through Guatemala on their way to the United States. Once they arrive in Guatemala, these asylum seekers can apply for protection in that country instead of the US.

The agreement applies to non-Guatemalan asylum seekers, including individuals from Honduras, El Salvador, and other Central American countries. However, the asylum seekers must have passed through Guatemala on their journey to the US.

Advocates for migrants and asylum seekers have criticized the agreement, saying that it places a significant burden on Guatemala, a country with high poverty and crime rates. Additionally, the United Nations Refugee Agency has expressed concern about the safety and security of asylum seekers in Guatemala.

Why did the US enter into this agreement?

The Trump administration has been vocal about its desire to crack down on illegal immigration and reduce the number of asylum seekers entering the United States. This agreement with Guatemala is one of several steps that the administration has taken to limit the number of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.

Under the agreement, non-Guatemalan asylum seekers who do not apply for protection in Guatemala may be ineligible for asylum in the United States. This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of asylum claims that the US is required to process.

However, critics of the agreement argue that it is simply a way for the US to avoid its international obligations to protect refugees and asylum seekers. They note that Guatemala, with its high rates of crime and poverty, is not a safe place for asylum seekers and that the agreement puts their lives at risk.


The asylum agreement between the United States and Guatemala is a controversial policy that has drawn criticism from advocates for asylum seekers and refugees. While the US government has touted the agreement as a way to reduce illegal immigration and limit the number of asylum claims it receives, many believe that it places an undue burden on Guatemala and jeopardizes the safety of asylum seekers. As the Trump administration continues to pursue its immigration policies, it is likely that the asylum agreement will remain a contentious issue.