El Salvador Agrees to Asylum Deal
By Preston Huennekens | Fair Take | September 20, 2019
The Trump administration has reached a cooperative asylum agreement with the government of El Salvador. Under the terms of the agreement, migrants traveling through El Salvador must first apply for asylum there before applying for asylum in the United States.
The U.S. is working to establish similar agreements with both Guatemala and Honduras. This summer, the Trump administration expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that all three governments were doing nothing to stem illegal immigration to the United States. The majority of illegal aliens arriving at the southern border come from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – comprising what is known as the “Northern Triangle” region of Central America.
Agreements such as these are important tools that the Trump administration can use to stem the tide of economic migrants taking advantage of our immigration loopholes. Many of these migrants are not in fact legitimate asylum seekers, but rather people looking for better-paying jobs in the United States. In FY 2018, U.S. immigration courts granted asylum to only 18 to 23 percent of asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle.
The northern triangle countries are sometimes described as hopelessly violent and often as the “murder capitals of the world.” But in recent years, their homicide rates have plummeted. In fact, the cities of Baltimore and St. Louis have homicide rates roughly equal to that of El Salvador, and significantly higher than those of Honduras and Guatemala.
The agreement with El Salvador was only announced on September 20, so the full details have yet to emerge. Regardless, the Trump administration continues to use its executive authority, including its authority to enter into international agreements, to address the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. But these are merely temporary fixes – only Congress has the ability to create permanent solutions by passing legislation that eliminates asylum loopholes and strengthens border security.