In July, the Trump administration signed a controversial bilateral agreement requiring people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to request asylum in Guatemala. This arrangement is known as a safe third country agreement — it increases vulnerability for people who are facing violence and persecution.
There’s a dangerous new plot twist. In return, the US has agreed to triple the number of H-2A visas for temporary agricultural work destined for Guatemala. But we know guestworker programs are fundamentally flawed and expose hundreds of thousands of people to exploitation and trafficking every year. It is wrong, cruel — and illegal.
That’s why we took to the pages of the influential Mexican political magazine Proceso this week! In our latest op-ed, The U.S.-Guatemala Agreement: A Warning for Mexico, our Communications Director Evy Peña suggests that the Guatemala agreement is not an isolated case but rather a dangerous precedent. Guestworker visas are not an alternative to asylum; they are a recipe for labor exploitation. Click here to read the op-ed.
For months, the US has been pressuring Mexico to become a safe third country. According to news reports, the Trump administration is seeking to push a safe third country agreement on El Salvador and Honduras. By using remittances and tariffs as pressure points, the US is dodging its obligations under federal and international law to offer protection to people from around the world who are facing the worst atrocities.
Signing agreements similar to that between the US and Guatemala would put migrant people at risk by denying them their right to asylum while opening the doors to labor exploitation under the flawed H-2A program.
Guestworker visas are not the answer. We need rights-based solutions that will protect men, women, and children along their journey. And we need your help — will you share our op-ed on social media and with your networks?