The Department of Homeland Security announced on January 9 that the U.S. and Honduras had finalized the steps on implementing an agreement that would send third country asylum seekers from the U.S. to Honduras. Asylum is a humanitarian immigration benefit applied for by individuals who fear severe harm or persecution if they return to their country of origin. For more information on asylum and other humanitarian relief, please click here. The asylum program has undergone many changes since 2016, including eliminating domestic violence victim’s eligibility to apply for asylum, proposal to charge a fee for previously free asylum applications, and eliminating the 30 day guarantee for asylum work permit applications.
Beginning in July with Guatemala, the U.S. signed bilateral agreements with the governments of the so-called “Northern Triangle” countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — that would allow them to send asylum seekers from third countries. In November, Honduras and El Salvador asylum applicants were redirected to Guatemala under this agreement. The U.S. has argued that migrants seeking asylum should request it in the first safe country they enter. In exchange to this agreement, the U.S. has agreed to invest in the region’s economic development. This development, along with the other changes mentioned above, are all ultimately measures to dissuade migrants from travelling to the U.S. border.
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