Nov 22, 2019

U.S. sends first Honduran asylum seeker sent to Guatemala

Dozens of people seen waiting to enter the U.S. on the Northern side of the International Bridge over the Rio Grande, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, Mexico. Photo: LEXIE HARRISON-CRIPPS/AFP via Getty Images

The first Honduran migrant was sent to Guatemala on Thursday to pursue his asylum case, the AP reports, kicking off a "landmark" Trump administration policy.

Flashback: Guatemala signed a "safe third country" agreement in July, agreeing to take in more Central American asylum seekers in an effort to slow migration in the U.S. The policy mostly impacts immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador whose routes to the U.S. go through Guatemala. Thousands of Guatemalans left the country last year to seek asylum in the U.S., Al Jazeera notes.

Why it matters: The policy is among "several aggressive moves" designed by the Trump administration to stem the flow of migrants from Central America into the U.S., the AP writes. Another, the so-called "remain in Mexico" program, requires migrants seeking admission to the U.S. to be sent back to Mexico for the duration of their court proceedings.

What's next: Guatemala Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart said he expects more asylum seekers to be returned to the country starting next week. He did not specify how many, per the AP.

  • U.S. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Guatemala is still establishing "reception centers" to process asylum seekers.

Go deeper: Refugee resettlement agencies sue Trump admin over executive order

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Trump could begin deporting asylum-seekers to Honduras by 2020

A section of the southwest border. Photo: Daniel Woolfolk/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration could begin sending some Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to Honduras by January 2020, although the details of the agreement are still being worked out, BuzzFeed News' Hamed Aleaziz reports.

Why it matters: The asylum agreements with Central American nations signed since the summer by former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan are beginning to take effect. They could force people fleeing their homes to seek asylum in neighboring nations where there are often weak asylum systems, severe poverty and high crime rates.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

Thousands of Brazilians seeking asylum in the U.S.

Migrants mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil prepare cots to sleep on. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly 17,000 Brazilian migrants have passed through El Paso, Texas in the past year, with many claiming fear of persecution or extreme economic hardship, AP reports.

Why it matters: Nationwide, 18,00 Brazilians were apprehended in the fiscal year ending in October — up 600% from 2016, per AP. The increase in Brazilian migrants coming to the U.S. highlights the Trump administration's efforts to block legal immigration for people who claim they are being persecuted, AP writes.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Refugee resettlement agencies sue Trump admin over executive order

Protesters gather at the Capitol as they protest U.S. refugee policies. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Three refugee resettlement agencies filed suit on Thursday against the Trump administration for an executive order signed in September that permits state and local officials to block resettlement in their jurisdictions, the groups announced.

The big picture: The order requires cities and states to give written consent before refugees can be settled there. The three agencies, HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit, Church World Service and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, are asking the court to block the order as it is tried in court.

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019