US DHS chief, Guatemala president meet on asylum agreement

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to discuss an agreement under which many asylum seekers would have to file claims in the Central American nation rather than in the United States.

The meeting lasted over an hour Thursday morning and followed a separate encounter between McAleenan and business leaders.

Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart was present at the meeting with Morales. He said McAleenan expressed concern about getting the agreement ratified quickly. Degenhart said it would be sent to Guatemalan lawmakers soon.

The deal could ease the crush of mostly Central Americans arriving at the U.S. border and requesting asylum. But critics note that Guatemala is a country from which large numbers of people are themselves fleeing violence and poverty.

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