The Trump administration has come to an “asylum cooperative agreement” with El Salvador that means anyone who passes through the nation must have been rejected asylum there in order to apply for asylum in the United States. Acting Homeland Security Director Kevin McAleenan signed the agreement Friday.
Unlike similar agreements in the works with Mexico and Guatemala, this one makes no sense. To understand why, look at a map.
Keep in mind, migrants FROM El Salvador would not be affected by this agreement since it would be El Salvador from which they’re seeking asylum. This means the agreement will only apply to those who go out of their way to cut through El Salvador from Honduras, which will be effectively zero. Even those who do will claim they went through Honduras to Guatemala, so the agreement is meaningless.
But it’s actually worse than meaningless. Every move the administration makes to secure the border will be viewed through a critical judicial lens. By signing an agreement with El Salvador, a nation rife with violence, it makes other agreements vulnerable as well. We do not need to be wasting time in court battles over an agreement that will have no practical effects because doing so allows th activist judiciary another opportunity to strike at effective agreements such as the one in place with Mexico and the one in the works with Guatemala.
This was a symbolic effort, one that is not only unnecessary but also puts real efforts at risk. I back the President’s plays on the border the vast majority of the time, but this one makes absolutely no sense.
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