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United States, El Salvador Sign Asylum Seekers Agreement: NPR



Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAllen, on the right, with Alexandra Hill Tinoco, left, Foreign Minister of El Salvador after signing an asylum agreement in Washington, D.C.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP


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Pablo Martinez Monsivays / AP

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAllen, on the right, with Alexandra Hill Tinoco, left, Foreign Minister of El Salvador after signing an asylum agreement in Washington, D.C.

Pablo Martinez Monsivays / AP

The United States and El Salvador on Friday signed an agreement aimed at deterring the flow of migrants seeking to enter that country by requiring them to seek asylum in that Central American country here.

At a signing ceremony in Washington, DC, Kevin McAllen, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Alexandra Hill Tinoco, El Salvador's Foreign Minister, signed an "asylum cooperation agreement". But they did not provide details on how the agreement will work when it enters into force or who will have an impact.

"This agreement today is a significant step forward," McAllon said during a live press conference. "El Salvador is a critical partner for the United States to promote the security and prosperity of Central America."

"We work every day to try to resolve this issue for people who, for various reasons, causes of insecurity, or reasons for

The agreement appears to put El Salvador in a position to receive migrants from third countries who would otherwise like to enter the US hill. Tinoco said that El Salvador wants to cooperate with the US and h economic investment in El Salvador is key to improving her country's ability to protect its own citizens from escaping.

The agreement also aligns with the administration's third-country asylum rule, though the term is not used.

The administration signed a similar agreement with Guatemala in July, but questions remain about that country's ability to comply. Legislators there have not yet ratified it.

Immigrant advocates denounce the agreement.

"If this agreement enters into force, the United States will force the most vulnerable communities to seek safety in a country that is not prepared to protect its own citizens or provide economic opportunity," said Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas, a network of immigrant-led organizations.

The El Salvador State Department's Human Rights Report 2018 cites allegations of unlawful killings and torture by security forces, as well as enforced disappearances by the military. The report describes a "lack of state respect is to judicial independence "and" widespread corruption in government. "

" Impunity continues despite the government's steps to dismiss and prosecute some of the security forces, the executive, and the justice system that have abused it. " It is unclear whether El Salvador's asylum cooperation is linked to other bilateral issues, most notably the status of some 200,000 Salvadoran people living in the United States under temporary shelter. The administration tried to end this program for Salvadoran and nationals of three other countries, but a federal judge intervened. The interim protections are due to end in January 2020.


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