Trump threatens to slap tariffs and other penalties on Guatemala in immigration fight

  • President Donald Trump accused Guatemala of backtracking on an agreement to take in more Central American asylum seekers on Monday.
  • But a constitutional court blocked Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales this month from making an declaration on the safe-third country agreement Trump was referring to.
  • Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the region.
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President Donald Trump accused Guatemala of backtracking on an agreement to take in more Central American asylum seekers on Monday, threatening to hit it with tariffs and other punishing measures.

“Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States, has decided to break the deal they had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We were ready to go.”

He said the US is now looking at the “BAN, Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above,” without offering any details. The White House and the Guatemalan foreign ministry did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

“Guatemala has not been good,” Trump added. “Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.”

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was expected to visit the US this month to discuss a safe-third country agreement, which would require the government to offer asylum to incoming migrants. But he canceled the trip to Washington after a constitutional court blocked him from making an immediate declaration.

Opponents have said the potential agreement would come with a slew of challenges, both legally and logistically. Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the region.

Trump argues that his controversial immigration policies prioritize the safety of Americans. Last month, he threatened to hit every product from Mexico, the US’s largest trading partner, with tariffs unless its government took steps to reduce the flow of migrants across the southwest border.

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