Thursday, December 5, 2019

Trump Administration signs asylum deal with Honduras

The Trump administration reached a deal with the government of Honduras to enhance the Central American nation’s asylum capacity. 

The agreement, signed yesterday, is similar to agreements previously reached with the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala, a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told reporters on a phone call. The official said migrants who had an opportunity to seek protection in those countries will be returned from the U.S. border to seek asylum or protection there under the recent agreements, including the new Honduras accord.

The U.S. and international organizations will work to help build upon Honduras’s current systems and processes to expand its asylum capacity, the official said. A joint statement from the U.S. and Honduras implied that the agreement hadn’t taken effect but did not specify when it would become effective.

Such agreements have faced pushback from immigration advocates who have noted that many migrants flee these countries due to poverty and violence. The agreements come amid other measures by the Trump administration to curb immigration.

DHS announced Monday that it would end its “catch and release” practice. President Trump has previously threatened to withhold aid from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala if they don’t take action to stem the flow of migration to the U.S.

Experts have said the aid is important to addressing the causes of migration. The Supreme Court this month upheld a rule that makes most asylum-seekers who pass through another country before reaching the U.S. ineligible for asylum, except for victims of trafficking and migrants who have been denied asylum in the other countries.   

THE HILL