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Foreign Policy
March 9, 2020

El Salvador’s Justice System Takes on a Historic Case
By Anna-Catherine Brigida

In fiscal year 2019, a record 69 percent of asylum cases were rejected, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonprofit data research center at Syracuse University. Díaz Córdova was one of the tens of thousands of people who pursued asylum in the United States in 2017, but she abandoned the attempt later that year, citing horrible detention center conditions to her friends, and returned to El Salvador. Opting to return home instead of waiting years for cases to be resolved has become more common under President Donald Trump’s administration. “She came back disillusioned,” Flores said. Now, Flores is one of many Central Americans weighing whether it still makes sense to pursue an asylum claim. In July 2019, the United States entered into a controversial safe third country agreement with Guatemala that requires migrants to seek asylum there if they enter the country en route to the United States, as most Salvadorans and Hondurans do. But civil society groups question how the country will care for the migrants when hundreds of thousands of its own citizens are leaving.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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