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United States and El Salvador sign Asylum Cooperative Agreement

  1. Original Date Announced

    September 20, 2019

    United States and El Salvador sign an Asylum Cooperative Agreement (ACA) to transfer asylum seekers to El Salvador. According to U.S. officials cited in news reports, the policy, signed by Acting Secretary McAleenan, applies to individuals who passed through El Salvador en route to the United States (see commentary).

    [ID #104]

    Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of El Salvador for Cooperation in the Examination of Protection Claims
  3. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    February 6, 2021

    DOS Suspends Asylum Cooperative Agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

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

    On Feb. 6, 2021, the State Department announced that the U.S. had suspended and initiated the process to terminate the asylum cooperative agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. According to the press release, the termination of these agreements will be effective only after the notice period stipulated in each of the agreements, but the suspension is effective immediately.

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Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

February 6, 2021 Action: Revoked/Replaced DOS Suspends Asylum Cooperative Agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
February 6, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Trump Administration Action: Agency Directive
Agencies Affected: DOJ USCIS CBP

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • December 29, 2004

    The United States and Canada signed an ACA on December 5, 2002, based on mutual acknowledgement of the international legal obligations of the Parties under the principle of non-refoulement set forth in the Convention and Protocol and recognition that both countries offer generous systems of refugee protection, recalling both countries’ traditions of assistance to refugees and displaced persons abroad.

    Safe Third Country Agreement between United States and Canada
  • December 23, 2008

    Section 208(2)(A) establishes an exception to asylum and allows return to a "safe third country" only if: "the alien's life or freedom would not be threatened" and "the alien would have a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection."

    8 U.S. Code § 1158


  • Trump administration reaches deal to send asylum seekers to El Salvador

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