Thousands the migrants will be sent earlier to dangerous problems under this harmful policies.

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News & Commentary|By Peniel Ibe, UPDATED Jul 28, 2020

The Trump administration is methodically dismantling the U.S. Asylum system to cut immigration come the U.S. One of the most devastating changes the management has presented is negotiating agreements with central American countries to need asylum seekers traveling through a country to first seek defense there. 

The agreements would successfully make it difficult for migrants come seek safety at the U.S. Southern border—and additional endanger the lives of thousands of world fleeing violence and also poverty in the northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, and also Guatemala) an ar and other countries. 

In November 2020, the Trump administration issued an interim final ascendancy to perform the agreements v Guatemala, Honduras, and also El Salvador. Due to the fact that then, the U.S. Has deported Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers to Guatemala—returning at the very least 1,000 adults and also children come the country. 

Here"s what you have to know about these danger agreements:

What is a "safe third country" agreement?

Historically, two nations have negotiated “safe third country” agreements to much better manage the flow of refugee and asylum cases at their border. This agreement is signed under the premise the both countries can offer asylum to world in need. The is no the situation in the trump administration’s agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and also Honduras. 

The U.S. Signed its very first “safe 3rd country” commitment with Canada. Essentially, if friend pass with the U.S intending to look for asylum in Canada, or vice versa, you will be turned back because the U.S. And Canada are understood safe enough for asylum seekers and also equipped to procedure asylum and also refugee cases in a fair manner. 


How the Trump management is making use of “safe third country” agreements 

Safe 3rd country agreements were created to re-publishing the responsibility of help asylum seekers, ensuring that they space safe and also protected native the damages from i m sorry they space fleeing. The trump administration’s repeat assaults on the legal immigration system —as well together the president’s hateful rhetoric around asylum seekers—demonstrates that this administration does not acknowledge or intend to uphold its responsibility to protect asylum seekers.

The safe third country commitment is not a contract that calls for congressional approval, and also it have the right to be signed and enacted unilaterally by the president. This has enabled the Trump administration to bypass Congress and the courts, impose more restrictions on asylum seekers, curb migration to the U.S., and also pass the U.S.’ obligation to obtain asylum seekers off to various other countries. 


The U.S. Has signed miscellaneous agreements with main American countries that cannot assist big numbers that migrants.


Under the trumped administration, the department of countryside Security has actually pressured governments of countries in central America right into signing agreements to prevent migrants native traveling north to the U.S.- Mexico border.

Guatemala together a "safe 3rd country": The Trump administration has gone into a “safe third country” covenant with Guatemala, i beg your pardon would need asylum seekers passing with Guatemala to the U.S. To use for asylum an initial in Guatemala. 

The agreement might be a violation the U.S. Refugee defense laws. Those more, Guatemala cannot qualify together a “safe 3rd country” as it lacks framework to assist huge numbers that refugees. U.S has confirmed plans to start sending mexican asylum seekers come Guatemala, also though the outgoing Guatemalan administration denies agreeing to get Mexican asylum seekers.

An agreement with El Salvador: The El Salvadoran federal government has agreed to obtain asylum seekers sent earlier from the unified States. Under the agreement, any type of asylum seeker that is not a nationwide of El Salvador might be sent earlier to El Salvador and forced to look for asylum there. 

Agreements v Honduras: In a collection of agreements through the Honduras government, the Trump management has sought to curb migration indigenous the an ar to the U.S. In an agreement similar to those signed on come by the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador, the U.S. Might send asylum seekers back to Honduras if castle passed with the nation without very first seeking asylum there. 

The agreements incorporate a appointment to developing the capacity of the asylum system within this countries, together both El Salvador and Honduras (like Guatemala and Mexico) room incapable of supplying the protections to groups who seek asylum in the U.S.—a bulk of which space their citizens.

Agreements through Honduras, Guatemala, and also El Salvador call for migrants intending to look for asylum in the U.S. To seek asylum in those countries first, adopting a core aspect of a safe 3rd country agreement. In situations where the asylum seeker is currently on U.S. Soil, they will be exile to one of the 3 countries–but not their nation of origin.

The agreements efficiently block migrants from accessing the U.S. Asylum system, forcing them come seek protection in countries that battle with high prices of violence and also poverty, lack institutions and infrastructure to assist large numbers the refugees, and also grapple with major sociopolitical, economic, and also environmental issues. Moreover, many Honduran, El Salvadoran and Guatemalan nationals are fleeing these conditions in their very own countries, also hoping to look for asylum in the U.S.

It’s informing that the Trump administration has not referred to as these “safe third country” agreements–a shameful acknowledgment that these countries do not satisfy the implicit needs of a safe third country. Because that example, most of the asylum seekers being sent to Guatemala- including households with kids are opting to go earlier to their countries, regularly risking their lives however acknowledging the seeking asylum in Guatemala is not safe. 

“Remain in Mexico” policy: instead of a safe 3rd country commitment with Mexico, the Trump administration has enforced its “Remain in Mexico" policy due to the fact that January 2019. The plan forces main Americans seek asylum to return to Mexico–for an indefinite amount of time–while their claims are processed. The “Remain in Mexico” policy is a clear violation the both U.S. And also international law, yet the can be fried Court has enabled it to continue while the validity is being challenged in the courts. Although the U.S. Has actually not signed one explicit covenant with Mexico, DHS has confirmed that mexican asylum seekers will likewise be consisted of in people influenced by agreements with other countries. 

“Safe third country” agreements during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, the U.S. Has actually temporarily stopped the deportation the non-Guatemalan asylum seekers come Guatemala under that “safe 3rd country agreement” with the country This halt come after reports revealed the the U.S. Deported dozens of infected migrants to Guatemala. The U.S. Is continuing continuous deportation flights to Guatemala. 

The agreements with central American nations tactically move the U.S. Border more south.

If all these agreements are enforced as intended, tens of countless asylum seekers traveling to the U.S. Indigenous the north Triangle will certainly be quit at the southern border of one of two people Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, or Mexico. And also people moving from outside of the north Triangle will basically have to apply for asylum indigenous as far south together the Honduras-Nicaragua border. 


These agreements strong arm countries into violating global agreements come protect and treat migrants with dignity. 

The Trump administration made numerous threats come countries, coercing castle to sign on to this agreements. Guatemala signed a “safe 3rd country” covenant after the management threatened it through tariffs, a take trip ban, and a tax on remittances. Prior to beginning the “Remain in Mexico” program, the administration threatened come impose tariffs on every Mexican goods.

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The U.S. And other nations that are party to this agreements might be violating legal responsibilities under national and international law. That contains the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 and also U.N. Refugee Convention, which establishes the principle the refugees need to not be forcibly changed to countries where they might be persecuted. 

Advocates space now daunting these agreements in U.S. Courts, which have actually the strength to determine whether the Trump’s administration’s actions room lawful. 

You can speak out against these harmful policies.

We must continue to need that the U.S. Welcome migrants with compassion and also respect the rights and dignity of all people. Contact conference today. Urge your members to do all they can to stand with refugees and protect asylum seekers.