Guatemalan President-elect Alejandro Giammattei, who takes office in January, has said he will review the agreement.
The Trump administration has conceived a program to send some asylum seekers encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border to Guatemala, a move that promises to transform the U.S. asylum system.
This new effort began after the Trump administration brokered an agreement with the Guatemalan government in July. The deal will allow U.S. immigration officials to force migrants requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for asylum in Guatemala first.
Reuters reported that initially it will be applied at a U.S. Border Patrol station in El Paso, Texas. The first phase will target adults from Honduras and El Salvador and the aim will be to process them within 72 hours.
Asylum officers were instructed not to ask migrants whether they have a fear of being sent to Guatemala. Instead, the migrants must affirmatively state a fear of being sent back.
Democrats and pro-migrant groups have opposed the move and contend asylum seekers will face danger in Guatemala, where the murder rate is five times that of the United States, according to 2017 data compiled by the World Bank. Guatemalan President-elect Alejandro Giammattei, who takes office in January, has said he will review the agreement.
Sources: Reuters, teleSUR.