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HIAS Statement on El Salvador Asylum Agreement

Silver Spring, Md.– On Friday, the Trump administration announced a new agreement with El Salvador. Under this deal, asylum seekers who travel through El Salvador on their way to the U.S. border will be sent back to El Salvador to seek asylum there instead of the United States. A similar agreement was struck with Guatemala in July, but it has yet to be implemented. 

In response, Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS, said: “Neither U.S. nor international law requires people to seek asylum in a country they pass through on their way to safety. The United States is in a much better position to respond fairly and humanely to the refugee crisis in Central America than El Salvador. Keeping asylum seekers away from the United States does not make their persecution or suffering go away; it just takes the possibility of legally filing for asylum and finding safety away from them.”

This agreement raises significant concerns about the safety of asylum seekers who are returned to El Salvador. El Salvador’s asylum system is barely functioning and the country remains one of the most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere.

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