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After immigration agreement with Guatemala, U.S. provides conflicting information on whether it seeks deal with Costa Rica

August 7, 2019

The United States’s Acting National Security Secretary, Kevin McAleenan, said last week the country will seek migratory agreements with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama to curb irregular migration from Central America.

McAleenan’s statement came at an interview following a new U.S. immigration agreement with Guatemala. According to the White House, people who travel through Guatemala in order to seek asylum in the United States now must first request asylum in the Central American country.

McAleenan said U.S. President Donald Trump also “invited Costa Rica and Panama, because we see this as a regional responsibility.”

But after a Tuesday meeting between Costa Rican authorities and U.S. Ambassador Sharon Day, Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry said the United States “clarified that the [U.S.] government has not requested to unite Costa Rica in these agreements.”

A Foreign Ministry statement said Day “congratulated the Government of Costa Rica for all the efforts it takes to address the situation in relation to the migratory flow and highlighted the positive results of the intense bilateral cooperation on security and its desire to strengthen it.”

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