US suspends asylum agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

The Biden administration said on Saturday that it is immediately suspending Donald Trump’s agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in a bid to reverse the previous Republican president’s tough immigration policies.

In a statement, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted that the United States “has suspended and initiated the termination of the asylum-prevention cooperation agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as the first concrete steps towards more remarkable partnership and cooperation in the region that President Biden spoke of. “.

“The Biden administration believes there are better ways to work with the governments of our partners to manage migration in the region,” Blinken said in a statement.

Under the so-called “safe third country” agreements concluded in 2019 between the Trump administration and the three Central American countries, US asylum seekers from that region must first seek asylum in those countries.

The policy, part of Trump’s efforts to curb illegal immigration from Central American countries that make up a significant proportion of the migrants detained at the US-Mexico border, have never been enforced against El Salvador and Honduras, the State Department said Saturday.

Transmissions under the US-Guatemala agreement have been suspended since mid-March 2020 due to the pandemic, the statement said.

The steps announced on Saturday came after Biden recently unveiled a host of measures to reorganize the U.S. immigration system, including the creation of a working group to reunite families separated on the U.S.-Mexico border and an increase in annual refugee quotas.

In accordance with one of the orders, Blinken had to “promptly consider” the advisability of notifying the governments of the three countries that the United States intended to suspend and terminate agreements on safe third countries. In turn, the Minister of Homeland Security and the Attorney General should also consider repealing the ruling on the implementation of these agreements.

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