GUATEMALA CITY -- Three Central Americans who arrived in the United States intending to seek asylum were sent to Guatemala on Tuesday under a July agreement between the two countries making Guatemala a so-called safe third country.
Guatemala’s migration agency confirmed the arrivals of the two Hondurans and a Salvadoran, with spokeswoman Alejandra Mena saying the plane had departed from Mesa, Arizona, the second flight to carry Central Americans to Guatemala under the agreement.
Eighty-four Guatemalans were also on board.
Leonel Dubón, director of the non-governmental organization Refugio de la Ninez, Spanish for “childhood refuge,” said the group was providing the Central Americans with legal advice. He said two said they were afraid to return home out of concerns for their safety.
Dubón said the asylum seekers were under 30 years old and arrived wearing Crocs and gray sport clothes with a green shirt, attire typically used at U.S. detention centers. One of them asked for other footwear because the rubber shoes were hurting his feet.
“They arrived with great uncertainty,” Dubón said, “and what we want here is for them to feel safe.”
He added that the Central Americans told him they had requested asylum in the United States, and that they were transferred under the July agreement.