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Good news for the U.S. and for thousands of asylum seekers who show up at the U.S. border. An immigration official has told the New Yorker that as the result of a deal between the U.S. and Guatemala, "asylum seekers from any country who either show up at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended while crossing between ports of entry could be sent to seek asylum in Guatemala instead."
The U.S. currently has a "remain in Mexico" policy, where the Mexican government agreed to keep several thousand migrants there, even granting work permits so that the asylum seekers could live while waiting for their U.S. court date.
Backlog - Asylum - Cases - Seekers - Hearing
Currently, the backlog of asylum cases is nearing one million. Every single one of those asylum seekers is entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge. Previously, the procedure was to simply give the asylum seeker a court date -- now stretching out to five years or more -- and let them go on their merry way, free to disappear into the interior of the U.S..
Up to 90% of asylum seekers fail to show up for their court date. With tens of thousands arriving at the U.S. border every month looking for asylum, the agreement with Guatemala would appear to be an ideal solution for everyone concerned.
Um - Everyone
Um...well, not everyone:
The biggest, and most unsettling, question raised by the agreement is how Guatemala could possibly cope with such enormous demands. More people are leaving Guatemala now than any other country in the northern triangle of Central America. Rampant poverty, entrenched political corruption, urban crime, and the effects of climate change have made large swaths of the country virtually uninhabitable. “This is already a country in which the political and economic system can’t...
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