Guatemala president-elect says U.S. immigration agreement is not sustainable

Elias Hubbard
August 14, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Alejandro Giammattei on Tuesday, two days after the conservative, pro-Israel politician was elected as Guatemala's president, defeating former first lady Sandra Torres in a runoff.

Guatemala's President-elect Alejandro Giammattei said Tuesday his country is not able to honor its side of an immigration deal with the it is now written.

The move, meant to reduce USA asylum claims, provoked widespread criticism from rights groups over the risks of sending vulnerable people to a country with endemic poverty and violence.

Outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inked a so-called safe third country agreement with the Trump administration in July, despite Guatemala's highest court blocking Morales from signing the pact without the consent of lawmakers.

"It's not right for the country", Mr Giammattei said of the deal.

The new Guatemalan leader added, "if we can't take care of our own people, imagine what it would be like for foreigners".

He also thanked outgoing President Jimmy Morales, saying that during his tenure "relations between Israel and Guatemala reached new heights, thanks also to his correct and fearless decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the Guatemalan Embassy there".

Mr Giammattei noted that since a USA judge had already suspended a separate safe third country accord, there was a chance that the deal with Guatemala could change.

"We'll have to see what happens in the United States with the federal judge's decision. The most likely outcome is that the United States will have to modify. the deal", he said, also noting Guatemala's Congress would need to be consulted.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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