World News

New Guatemalan government won't cancel U.S. asylum deal

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala’s new government will continue receiving Central American migrants under an asylum agreement with the United States, Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo said on Wednesday, in a boost to the Trump administration’s efforts to curb migration.

Before taking office this month Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei had pledged to review the contentious U.S. immigration deal, which is designed to make migrants from Honduras and El Salvador seek asylum in Guatemala instead of the United States. Most migrants from those two countries pass through Guatemala and Mexico en route to the U.S. border.

“We will continue receiving (migrants), which has really been very limited,” Brolo told reporters in Guatemala’s congress.

Brolo said his government was in the process of determining if other nationalities will be included in the U.S. asylum deal, which the government of former President Jimmy Morales struck in July.

Over the past week Guatemala has been dealing with a caravan of mostly Honduran migrants who were crossing its territory on way to the United States via Mexico.

Mexico, which is also under pressure from the United States to prevent migrants from reaching the U.S. border, largely blocked that caravan and deported many migrants after clashes broke out on the border with Guatemala.

Brolo said a delegation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was due to visit Guatemala for further discussions on migration.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Leslie Adler