The Trump administration continues in ins efforts to reduce the number of Central American asylum seekers coming to the United States. Yesterday, the governments of United States and El Salvador released this joint statement:
"Today, on behalf of the Trump Administration, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Kevin K. McAleenan, signed a Protection Cooperative Agreement with Salvadoran Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexandra Hill Tinoco, at DHS U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters in Washington.
Recognizing El Salvador’s recent decision to join the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, and using U.S. and international best practices, this agreement will enhance collaboration on building protection capacity and increase protection options closer to home for vulnerable populations. The U.S. continues to work closely with the Government of El Salvador to enhance the integrity of both of our immigration systems to ensure vulnerable populations are not victimized by smugglers and build protection capacity for migrants traveling through our region.
The two governments are committed to addressing the issue of irregular migration in a joint and humane way that will contribute to greater prosperity and security of the region. The signing reflects the partnership and commitment between both nations to discourage dangerous irregular migration across Central America toward the U.S. and to combat transnational criminal organizations, strengthen border security, and reduce human trafficking and smuggling.
Once this Cooperative Agreement enters into force, it will further expand the capacity of protection systems in the region.
Today’s signing is part of the Trump Administration’s strategy to further enhance security and prosperity throughout the region. El Salvador and the United States have a robust partnership and El Salvador has been a leader in countering human smugglers, traffickers, transnational criminal organizations, and gangs. This Cooperative Agreement follows the Letter of Intent signed by Acting Secretary McAleenan with the Government of El Salvador last month in San Salvador to intensify bilateral cooperation in key areas.
In recent months, Acting Secretary McAleenan has also forged partnerships with Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama to disrupt human and drug smuggling operations and address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Nick Miroff of the Washington Post observes that "[t]he accord shows a willingness by the Trump administration to send people to places that are known to be dangerous — and from which people have been fleeing extreme poverty, violence and corruption — to dissuade them from attempting a journey to the U.S. border in the first place."