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Jan 10, 2020

The Implications of Sending Asylum Seekers to Peten, Guatemala

Gilges also spoke about the U.S. proposal to transfer rejected asylum seekers to Peten, Guatemala. This he says could have negative implications on Belize and as such has been communicated to State Department in Washington.


Keith R. Gilges, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy

“We have seen the first returnees come from Guatemala. Again, my interest in that issue is ensuring that U.S. policy makers understand what those policies the impact can have in Belize. My big one is to say let’s make sure that if they do create an asylum camp it is not anywhere on the Eastern side of Guatemala because we don’t want those folks to say that our best way rather north through Mexico is through Belize and Mexico. I make sure that I am carrying that message back to Washington, we are letting them know yes as you are putting these agreement here are at the impacts it can have in Belize. Let’s not let that happen.”


Marleni Cuellar

“So being preventative in not having these asylum seekers coming into Belize  if they’ve been relocated to Guatemala.”


Keith Gilges

Keith R. Gilges

“My understanding was that there was some kind of effort to possible locate a camp somewhere in the Peten. My job is to go back to Washington to say that in your engagements with your bilateral partners like Guatemala make sure that the decisions they are making do not have this negative side effect. So far we have been successful in that.”


Marleni Cuellar

“And so Peten is still the preferred site?”


Keith R. Gilges

“Not for us.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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