Guatemala announced Sunday that it would postpone President Jimmy Morales’s visit to the White House, where he and President Trump were expected to discuss a safe third country agreement.
The Central American country said in a statement that the planned meeting between Morales and Trump this week had been postponed until the Guatemalan Constitutional Court had ruled on legal challenges.
Five former senior officials appealed to the court last week to block any safe third country agreement.
Under such an agreement, Guatemala would be required to process asylum claims from migrants who set foot there while headed to another country.
Migrants from Honduras and El Salvador heading north usually cross into Mexico via Guatemala.
Local opposition has mounted to such a designation for Guatemala, which would radically reshape migration in the region.
“The government of the republic reiterates that at no point it considers signing an agreement to convert Guatemala into a safe third country,” the Guatemalan government said in the statement.
El Gobierno de Guatemala a la opinión pública informa: pic.twitter.com/n3Ljx75pTu
— Gobierno Guatemala (@GuatemalaGob) July 14, 2019
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump has been openly critical of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, claiming the nations have not done enough to prevent their citizens from leaving to seek asylum in the U.S.
The administration cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the three Northern Triangle countries earlier this year before reversing course and allowing roughly two-thirds of the money to go forward.