The Biden administration is ending agreements with three Central American nations that were part of an effort to restrict asylum under President Donald Trump
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday the administration had notified El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that it had started the formal process of terminating agreements that had been part of Trump’s effort to restrict asylum.
“The Biden administration believes there are more suitable ways to work with our partner governments to manage migration across the region,” Blinken said in a statement announcing the immediate suspension of the agreements and their eventual termination.
The secretary of state said the administration intends to work with the Central American nations to reduce some of the insecurity and poverty that cause people to flee in the first place while maintaining the security of the U.S. border.
“To be clear, these actions do not mean that the U.S. border is open,” he said. “While we are committed to expanding legal pathways for protection and opportunity here and in the region, the United States is a country with borders and laws that must be enforced.”
The Trump administration pushed the Central American nations to accept the agreements as a way to reduce the number of people seeking asylum in the United States. Critics said it amounted to a U.S. retreat from its obligations under international law to help people fleeing persecution since neither of the three countries could credibly provide refuge.