This could be the government`s fallback option if a court re-enters its asylum rule in ongoing legal challenges. Alternatively, it could be used to send migrants to countries other than their own if their governments refuse to work with the United States to facilitate their deportation. Giammattei can hope that by compromising on the “safe third country” deal, he will appease critics at home without tearing the feathers in Washington. But to negotiate the intricacies of this agreement is to rely on a dangerous fiction: that Guatemala is “safe” for asylum seekers. No amount of concessions received from the United States will make the agreement sound or valid, neither for asylum seekers nor for Guatemala. To truly address the drivers of migration both to and from Guatemala, long-term solutions to systemic problems must be found. International actors, including U.S. members of Congress, the United Nations and the European Union, should pressure Guatemala not to implement a “safe third country” agreement, but to fight the corruption that makes the country`s government so ineffective in meeting the needs of its people. In September, Morales forced a highly effective UN-backed anti-corruption commission to investigate the rampant looting of state coffers. Such a transplant worsens the government`s ability to meet basic standards of health, education and economic progress. By urging Guatemala to accept a ridiculous migration deal instead of supporting anti-corruption efforts that actually address the sources of migration, the U.S.
government is shooting itself in the foot.