Biden’s administration is suspending Trump’s asylum agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

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© Reuters. Honduran migrants sent back to Guatemala from the United States sit at the table after arriving at the Casa del Migrante shelter in Guatemala City

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration announced on Saturday that it would immediately suspend Trump-era asylum deals with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in an attempt to reverse the tough immigration policies of its Republican predecessor.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said the United States had “suspended the process of ending the asylum cooperation agreements with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as the first concrete steps on the way to greater partnership and cooperation, and initiated that process under President Biden specified region. “

The so-called “safe third country” agreements signed by the Trump administration and the Central American states in 2019 force asylum seekers from the region to first seek refuge in these countries before applying in the US.

As part of a controversial bid by Trump to tackle illegal immigrants from Central America, who make up a large portion of the migrants arrested on the U.S.-Mexico border, policies with El Salvador and Honduras were never implemented, the State Department said on Saturday.

The transmissions under the agreement between the US and Guatemala have been suspended since mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it said.

The moves announced on Saturday came after Biden unveiled a number of measures last week to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, including a task force to reunite families separated on the United States-Mexico border and another to increase the annual limit for Refugees.

One of the orders asked Blinken to “immediately check” whether the governments of the three countries should be informed that the United States intended to suspend and end safe business with third countries. She also asked the Minister of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to decide whether to repeal a rule implementing the agreements.

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