In what is seen as the latest example of President Biden's efforts to roll back former President Donald Trump's restrictive immigration policiues, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday said the Biden administration has notified El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that the United States has suspended, with immediate effect, the Asylum Cooperative Agreements and will begin the process of terminating them.
Under the pacts, which were struck by the Trump administration in 2019, the U.S. could send people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to the three Central American countries to "share the distribution of asylum claims." Critics argued the policy put asylum-seekers at risk, since the three countries could not credibly provide refuge, meaning the U.S. was not meeting its obligations under international law to help people fleeing persecution.
Blinken said while the move does not mean the U.S. border is "open" and laws "must be enforced," the "Biden administration believes there are more suitable ways to work with our partner governments to manage migration across the region," including addressing "the root causes of forced displacement and irregular migration."
Transfers under the agreements were already on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic — in fact, the pacts with El Salvador and Honduras were never implemented, the State Department said. Read more at NPR and ABC News.