Sep 20, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration reaches asylum deal with El Salvador

Migrants are led out of the National Institue of Migration in downtown Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Seen through a chain link fence.

Migrants being led out of the National Institute of Migration in downtown Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with El Salvador on Friday, which could force Central American migrants who pass through the country to first seek asylum there or be sent back to the country once they reach the U.S..

Why it matters: The new agreement is the latest attempt to curtail Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S.

  • In return, the U.S. will help El Salvador with its capacity to offer asylum to migrants.
  • El Salvador's Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill also said at Friday's agreement signing that they need to find ways to offer legal immigration avenues for Salvadorans as well as protections for Salvadorans who are already legally in the U.S.
  • It is unclear when the agreement will actually take effect.
  • A similar deal was struck with Guatemala earlier this summer, although it has yet to go into effect. President Trump told the Department of Homeland Security to reach a deal soon with Honduras as well, Buzzfeed has reported.

By the numbers: More than 86,000 Salvadorans have attempted to cross the U.S. border themselves. While there have been far more migrants from Honduras and Guatemala overall, there have been more family members and children from El Salvador crossing the border than from Mexico, according to CBP data.

  • Salvadorans in the U.S. have had Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to devastating earthquakes in the country in 2001. The Trump administration ended their TPS last year, but DHS issued a temporary extension earlier this year after a court injunction.

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Hill signed the deal in front of a room of reporters at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices in Washington, D.C.

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