President Donald Trump announced a so-called safe third-country deal with Guatemala on Friday, July 26, that will restrict asylum applications to the United States from Central America.

The president called it a “landmark agreement” and stated it “will put human smugglers out of business and provide safety for legitimate asylum-seekers.”

“This is a very big day,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We have long been working with Guatemala and now we can do it the right way.” 

The so-called safe third-country agreement would require migrants, including Salvadorans and Hondurans, to apply for protection in Guatemala rather than at the U.S. border on their way to the U.S. It may potentially ease the flow of migrants overwhelming the U.S. immigration system.

Trump added Friday that the agreement would protect “the rights of those with legitimate claims,” end “abuse” of the asylum system and curtail the crisis on the U.S. southern border.

“We’re sending a clear message to human smugglers and traffickers that your day is over,” the president said.

He said that as part of the agreement, the U.S. would increase access to the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers from Guatemala.

White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said, “President Trump keeps working hard for this country – the U.S. just signed a “Safe Third Agreement” w/Guatemala to help secure our border. As the President works hard to solve the crisis on the southern border, I sure hope the dems enjoy their vacations!”

The announcement emerges after a California court has stopped Trump’s most restrictive asylum attempt to date, one that would efficiently end laws at the southern border.

For months, the two nations had been negotiating such an arrangement, and Trump threatened to put tariffs or other effects on Guatemala on Wednesday if it failed to achieve an accord.

Guatemalans accounted for 34% of Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border from October to June, more than any other nationality. Hondurans were second at 30%, followed by Mexicans at 18% and El Salvadorans at 10%.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press.

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