İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. could begin deporting Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala, where they can file asylum claims in the Central American country instead, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The move marks a significant expansion of the Trump administration's asylum deal with Guatemala brokered in July, part of a broader effort to discourage migrants from seeking humanitarian protections from the U.S. Under the agreement, migrants from El Salvador and Honduras who pass through Guatemala can be returned to the country to seek asylum there first. But some Mexican migrants too could now face deportation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced. Mexico rejected the plan, saying it could affect hundreds of people.
The controversial deal, reached last July, was part of President Donald Trump's efforts to stop people trying to reach the U.S. through Mexico. Many say they are fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. By December 2019, 43 asylum seekers from other Central American countries like Honduras and El Salvador were subject to this agreement and deported to Guatemala. Now, Mexican immigrants are set to join the populations that are "amenable" to the Guatemalan agreement. In a statement, Mexico's foreign ministry condemned the measure, saying some 900 asylum seekers could be affected from February. The government, it said, would closely monitor "human rights set out in the international agreements signed and ratified" by both countries.