U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on July 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
WASHINGTON, July 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to slap tariffs and other penalties on Guatemala after the Central American nation's high court blocked its government from signing an asylum deal with Washington.
In a pair of tweets on Tuesday morning, Trump claimed that Guatemala had decided to break a deal with the United States, which reportedly would declare Guatemala as a "safe third country" for migrants to claim asylum.
"Now we are looking at the 'BAN,' tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good," Trump added.
Earlier this month, Guatemala's high court ruled that Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales could not commit to the deal with the U.S. side without the approval of the nation's parliament.
Morales canceled a trip to Washington D.C. before the court's decision and issued a statement reiterating that "at no moment" has he contemplated signing an agreement to convert Guatemala into a safe third country.
Trump has been critical of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, accusing them of having not done enough to prevent their citizens from leaving to seek asylum in the United States and had tried to cut aid to them as punishment.
He previously threatened Mexico with additional tariffs to put pressure on it for more actions to help address illegal immigration, drawing criticism from both home and abroad.
The White House has been tough immigration, an issue expected to be widely discussed in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election.