The US and Guatemala signed a “safe third country” agreement Friday that would require asylum-seekers traveling through the Central American country to first seek protection there, the White House said, a deal that could dramatically limit asylum eligibility in the US to thousands of people.Supreme Court says Trump can proceed with plan to spend military funds for border wall construction
The details of the agreement were not immediately released, but under the designation, thousands of asylum-seekers who travel through Guatemala, which shares a border with Mexico, from countries such as Honduras and El Salvador could be required to apply for asylum there before being able to do so in the US.
Speaking alongside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Friday, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told reporters that if asylum-seekers "arrive in the US not having availed themselves of that opportunity, they will be returned to Guatemala."
The agreement comes after Trump threatened Guatemala with tariffs after backing away from discussions on the designation, and Guatemala's high court said President Jimmy Morales couldn't sign a safe third country agreement without prior approval from its Congress. It was unclear if Friday's agreement would pass legal muster.
A split Supreme Court said Friday night that the Trump administration could proceed with its plan to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build part of the president’s wall project along the southern border.You can guess the split, but there was one surprise:
The court’s conservatives set aside a lower-court ruling for the Sierra Club and a coalition of border communities that said reallocating Defense Department money would violate federal law.
Friday’s unsigned ruling came in response to an emergency filing from the administration during the court’s summer recess. The majority said the government “made a sufficient showing at this stage” that private groups may not be the proper plaintiffs to challenge the transfer of money.
The court’s action is a stay of the injunction issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on a 2-to-1 vote, and the litigation continues. The administration wants to finalize contracts for the work before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer proposed a compromise to which no one signed on: allow the government to finalize contracts for the project but not begin construction.Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and links.