Alejandro Giammattei was sworn in as President of Guatemala on January 14, 2020. Prior to his presidency, Giammattei had seen only the text accessible to the public, not the secret annexes, and had previously expressed his reluctance to play the role of a safe third country.  Finally, it reaffirmed Guatemala`s commitment to the ACA and the program was significantly expanded. The Guatemalan Constituent Court first terminated the agreement`s entry into force. After the verdict, Trump offered revenge by blocking all Guatemalan immigrants and introducing a new tax on their transfers. The agreement has been implemented in the meantime.  John Wagner, Mary Beth Sheridan, David J. Lynch and Maria Sacchetti, “Trump Threatens Guatemala After It Backs Away From Safe Third Country` Asylum Deal,” Washington Post, July 23, 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-threatens-guatemala-over-delay-in-safe-third-country-asylum-deal/2019/07/23/cc22417e-ad45-11e9-bc5c-e73b603e7f38_story.html. The European Union reached a similar deal with Turkey in March 2016, after migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, including Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war, arrived in record numbers – more than a million in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration. The deal allowed Greece to deport migrants who had crossed Turkey unless they had already been warned against asylum in Greece.
(Few deportations actually took place because migrants began to apply for asylum as soon as they arrived in Greece.) Beginning in the late 1980s, several European countries, the United States and Canada, began signing bilateral or multilateral agreements and enacting national laws allowing countries with similar standards and procedures to transfer asylum seekers to “safe” countries that would benefit from a full and fair review of international protection applications. Many, but not all, agreements required that the asylum seeker first transit through the designated secure third country, as they were generally based on the principle that the country of the first safe arrival is responsible for reviewing the application. These agreements are called agreements on the security of third-country nationals. Transfer to these countries is sanctioned by international law, assuming that asylum seekers have already found or could find effective protection. UNHCR has established that the transfer of third countries safely should not take place if there is a risk of refoulement (persecution in the third country) or indirect refoulement or chaining (by removal from the third country to the country of origin).  The concept of effective protection requires, among other things, that any surviving asylum seeker be guaranteed: in mid-August, less than a month after the signing of the agreement, right-wing politician Alejandro Giammattei won a second round of the presidential election.