Guatemalan presidential election winner wants to amend Trump agreement on migrants

Guatemalan presidential election winner wants to amend Trump agreement on migrants

The winner of Guatemala's presidential election, Alejandro Giammattei, said Sunday that he wants to amend the migration deal his country signed with the Trump administration last month.

“I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the United States,” Giammattei, 63, told Reuters.

ADVERTISEMENT

When the conservative takes office in January, he will have to grapple with the deal struck by outgoing President Jimmy Morales to stem migration to the U.S.

Morales, under the threat of sanctions, agreed to a deal known as a “safe third country agreement.”

The agreement forces Salvadoran and Honduran migrants to request asylum in Guatemala before doing so in the United States. 

“It’s not right for the country,” Giammattei told Reuters. “If we don’t have the capacity to look after our own people, imagine what it will be like for foreigners.”

The deal is reportedly unpopular in Guatemala and critics argue it will put an undue burden on the Central American country at an inopportune time.

Giammattei also said that he does not think migrants will comply with the agreement.

“They are looking for asylum in the United States,” he told Reuters. “I don’t think there are a lot of people from El Salvador and Honduras who want to seek asylum in Guatemala, especially if they are fleeing poverty.”

Giammattei won more than 58 percent of the vote against his center-left opponent, former first lady Sandra Torres.