Daily US Times: On Saturday, the Biden administration said it was immediately suspending Trump-era asylum agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, part of a bid to undo the former administration’s hardline immigration policies.
State Department Secretary Antony Blinken said in a statement that the US had “suspended and initiated the process to terminate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as the first concrete steps on the path to greater partnership and collaboration in the region laid out by President Biden.”
The so-called “safe third country” agreements, inked in 2019 by the Trump administration and the Central American nations, force asylum seekers from the region to first seek refuge in those countries before applying in the US.
Part of a controversial bid by Donald Trump to crack down on illegal immigrants from Central America who make up a large part of migrants apprehended at the US-Mexico border, the policies were never implemented with Honduras and El Salvador, the State Department said on Saturday.
Transfers under the US-Guatemala agreement have been paused since mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the statement added.
The moves announced on Saturday came after President Biden unveiled a host of measures last week aimed at revamping the US immigration system, including a task force to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border and another to increase an annual cap on refugees.
One of the orders called forMr Blinken to “promptly consider” whether to notify the governments of the three countries that the US intended to suspend and terminate the safe third country deals.