Skip to main content

United States and El Salvador sign Asylum Cooperative Agreement

  1. Original Date Announced

    September 20, 2019

    The United States and El Salvador sign an Asylum Cooperative Agreement (ACA). The agreement, signed by Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan, allows the U.S. to transfer certain asylum seekers to El Salvador. This agreement is not applicable to Salvadorean citizens or residents and guarantees that it will be applied to unaccompanied minors consistent with U.S. law.

    [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.

    View Document

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


  • 2021.01.18 Staff Report, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

    On January 18, 2021, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff published a report entitled "Cruelty, Coercion, and Legal Contortions: The Trump Administration's Unsafe Asylum Cooperative Agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador." The report finds, among other things, that "The ACAs appear to violate U.S. law and international obligations by sending asylum seekers and refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened . . . The Trump administration radically distorted the intent and meaning of the 'safe third country' provision in U.S. law, constructing the ACAs to function as a broad bar to asylum rather than an exception to the right to seek asylum . . . [and] The White House and DHS used coercive tactics to compel the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to sign the ACAs."

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

    Go to article

We require registration to leave feedback. You may either:

  • Sign in with your current user name and password.

  • Register if you don't have a user name and password.