But even this agreement was not immune to criticism. Canadian lawyers filed a complaint against the agreement in July 2017, arguing that the Trump administration`s policy had made the United States dangerous for asylum seekers. The ongoing complaint states that asylum seekers are “unjustly detained” in the United States and are at risk of being forcibly returned to countries where they could be victims of persecution, torture and death. “President Trump`s decision to sign this agreement with Guatemala is cruel and immoral. It`s illegal, too. Simply put, Guatemala is not a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers, as required by law,” said Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.  “Brief of Amicus Curiae Council 119 in support of the applicants` application for summary decision and permanent injunction,” UT v. Barr, Case No. 1:20-lv-oo116 (EGS) US District Court of the District of Columbia, int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/ 6807-amicus-brief-asylum policy/d2898a7a7e9db9db10ed0b5/optimized/full.pdf See also, “Immigration Officers Say Asylum Deal with Guatemala Is Unlawful,” New York Times, March 6, 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/us/politics/trump-asylum-guatemala.html.
Trump had threatened Mexico with an escalation of tariffs earlier this summer, but withdrew after Mexico agreed to train and mobilize a national guard and its military to reduce the number of Central American migrants passing through its territory. Asylum subsidies in Mexico are relatively low. The Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission (COMAR) granted asylum to 264 of the 3,533 asylum seekers from El Salvador, 43 out of 791 from Guatemala and 279 from 7,484 in Honduras in 2018. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a number of asylum seekers are also dropping their applications. Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries also produce a high number of asylum seekers themselves. In 2017, the last year for which asylum was granted, the United States granted asylum to 3,471 migrants from El Salvador, 2,954 from Guatemala, 2,048 from Honduras and 1,048 from Mexico. In a letter to the U.S. Congress in late 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump outlined several strategies that would limit access to asylum at the U.S.
southern border, including “the ability to bring asylum seekers back to safe third countries.”  The designation of safe third-country nationals is generally based on the assessment that the country has an asylum system that operates in accordance with international standards and does not expose asylum seekers and refugees to the risk of direct or indirect refoulement.  Homeland security officials have stated that they expect the agreement to be ratified in Guatemala and that they will begin implementing it in August.