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Guatemala seen as ill-prepared to absorb US-bound refugees

GUATEMALA CITY — A potential agreement with the U.S. to make Guatemala a “safe third country” has the nation’s opposition up in arms and experts scratching their heads.

It would mean asylum seekers from other countries who cross into Guatemala must seek refuge there instead of in the U.S.

That could potentially ease the crush the U.S. is seeing at its southern border, and hand President Donald Trump something he could tout as a win.

But Guatemala is in poor position to provide safety and economic opportunity when tens of thousands of its own citizens have fled just this year.

President Jimmy Morales meets Trump in Washington on Monday. Morales’ spokesman denies that a “safe third country” agreement will be signed.

But Washington officials have said privately it is on the table.

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