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Interim final rule modifies existing regulations to implement the Asylum Cooperative Agreements

  1. Original Date Announced

    November 19, 2019

    DOJ and DHS publish an interim final rule to implement Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs), which applies to individuals who arrive at a U.S. port of entry, or enter, or attempt to enter the U.S., between ports of entry, on or after November 19, 2019. The rule amends 8 C.F.R. § 208.30 by requiring asylum officers to determine whether the individual: is subject to one or more ACAs; falls within any exception to the applicable ACAs; and would more likely than not be persecuted on account of a protected asylum ground or tortured in the receiving country. If the asylum officer determines that the individual is not subject to an ACA; falls within an exception to each applicable ACA, or would more likely than not be persecuted on account of a protected ground or tortured in each of the prospective receiving countries, then the asylum officer will assess the merits of the credible fear claim as usual. This rule also amends 8 C.F.R. § 1003.42 requiring immigration judges to make determinations in the context of removal proceedings. The IFR was signed by Acting Secretary Wolf and AG Barr. [ID #116]

    Implementing Bilateral and Multilateral Asylum Cooperative Agreements Under the Immigration and Nationality Act
  2. Effective Date

    November 19, 2019
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    February 6, 2021

    Suspending and Terminating the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

    This Biden administration policy revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On February 6, 2021, the State Department issued a press release announcing that the United States has suspended and initiated the process to terminate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  The termination of these Agreements is effective after the notice period stipulated in each of the Agreements, but their suspension is immediate.

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Current Status

Not in effect
February 6, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Trump Administration Action: Rule
Agencies Affected: EOIR USCIS CBP DOS

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • December 23, 2008

    Section 8 U.S.C. 1158 authorizes the executive branch to enter into “bilateral or multilateral agreement[s]” for the removal of asylum seekers to third countries. Those agreements must satisfy two primary requirements: (1) the third country must provide access to “full and fair” asylum procedures; and (2) must be a place “in which the alien's life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion."

    8 U.S. Code 1158


  • CGRS Response to DHS Request for Comments on Implementing Bilateral and Multilateral Asylum Cooperative Agreements

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  • CRS | Safe Third Country Agreements with Northern Triangle Countries

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