Agreements on safe third countries have been put in place to give countries responsibility for aiding asylum seekers, always with regard to their well-being. In 1991, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called for such agreements, in which they would “better identify vulnerable people” and “cooperate at the international level to provide this protection and achieve sustainable solutions.” The agreement with El Salvador, which is similar to the agreement with Guatemala, states that the United States “wants to cooperate with El Salvador to strengthen El Salvador`s institutional capacity.” In this part, the United States will invest in El Salvador and work on a path for about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the United States for 20 years and who have temporary legal immigration status to stay in the country for a long time, McAleenan and El Salvador State Department Chancellor Alexandra Hill told reporters. The agreement, signed by outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and the government of U.S. President Donald Trump, calls Guatemala a “safe third country,” meaning people crossing its territory must first apply for asylum. Only by rejecting their assertion will they be able to seek protection from the United States, a provision that Trump imposed in an attempt to stop migration across the southern border. Once the takers are registered at the airport, they have 72 hours to decide whether they wish to apply for asylum or temporary stay in Guatemala or be returned to their country of origin.  The 72-hour delay not only provides too little time for takers to make such a monumental decision, but it is also arbitrary, since the agreement on border control between the centre and the four countries allows passport-free land transit for nationals of the signatory countries el Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua for up to 90 days. Guatemala – Guatemala`s new government will continue to take in Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers from the United States as part of a controversial asylum deal, the country`s foreign minister confirmed Wednesday. Giammattei can hope that by making compromises on the agreement on a “safe third country”, he will appease critics at home, without leaving any feathers in Washington. But negotiating the intricacies of this agreement is based on a dangerous fiction: that Guatemala is “safe” for asylum seekers.
No amount of concessions obtained by the United States will make the agreement resonate or make interesting, either for asylum seekers or for Guatemala.