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Central American asylum-seekers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico board a bus to leave the country. Rather than wait out their asylum application process, Central American asylum-seekers board a bus to return home, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, July 2, 2019 (AP photo by Christian Chavez).

Trump’s Threats Won’t Make Mexico and Guatemala ‘Safe Third Countries’

Friday, July 26, 2019

Since the early days of his administration, U.S. President Donald Trump has made multiple attempts to limit asylum—an international right defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—as part of an often-virulent anti-immigrant platform. From his so-called Muslim ban to reports this week that his administration is mulling efforts to punish the Guatemalan government by banning its nationals from entering the United States, Trump has shown an alarming lack of understanding of international norms about refugees and asylum-seekers.

His administration’s moves to further dissuade migrants and would-be refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S. have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis at the southern border, where dozens have died in detention facilities and conditions have been widely described by observers as “punitive” and “inhumane.” Rather than apportioning more resources to attend to urgent, basic needs in these facilities or trying to address the root causes for migration in Central America, Trump is doing what he does best: blaming others. ...

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