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January 15, 2020

AP Explains: US sending asylum seekers to Central America
By Christopher Sherman

The ACAs are a step beyond that, sending asylum seekers even farther away from the border. Q - What are the Asylum Cooperation Agreements? A - Beginning with Guatemala in July of 2019, the U.S. government signed agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that would allow the U.S. to send asylum seekers from other countries to Central America. Under the deals, asylum seekers won’t be given the opportunity to request asylum in the U.S., but rather will be flown to these Central American countries where they will have the opportunity to request asylum. Q - Why is the U.S. government doing this? A - According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, U.S. immigration judges decided 67,406 asylum cases in fiscal 2019, a record and nearly 2 1/2 times the number five years ago. Most of those arriving at the southwest border last year were from Central America’s so-called “Northern Triangle” countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. With the ACAs and other measures, the U.S. wants to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving at its southwest border. On Thursday in Honduras, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said: “Not only does ACA fulfill a humanitarian responsibility, but it also serves a security purpose. With access to protections in Honduras and throughout the region fewer individuals will make the dangerous journey to the United States.”

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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