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LatinNews Daily - 15 February 2021

US terminates asylum agreements with Central America

Central America: On 6 February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the termination of Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs) with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Signed under the previous US government led by Donald Trump (2017-2021), ACAs were likened to ‘safe third country’ agreements that stipulate that asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first safe country they enter, and under which migrants seeking asylum in the US were turned away and returned to Central America. In a statement Blinken described the termination of the accords, which had provoked outrage among human rights groups given the violence and insecurity afflicting the three Central American ‘Northern Triangle’ countries, as the first “concrete steps on the path to greater partnership and collaboration in the region”, as laid out by US President Joe Biden. However, Blinken said the termination of the ACAs would not lead to an open border approach to migration: “While we are committed to expanding legal pathways for protection and opportunity here and in the region, the US is a country with borders and laws that must be enforced. We are also committed to providing safe and orderly processing for all who arrive at our border, but those who attempt to migrate irregularly are putting themselves and their families at risk on what can be a very dangerous journey”. Instead, the Biden administration has pledged to address the causes for migration from Central America by combatting corruption, protecting refugees, and working to promote prosperity in the region.

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