The Latest: US may send some asylum-seekers to El Salvador

Politics
Kevin K. McAleenan, Alexandra Hill

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan exchanges folders with El Salvador Foreign Affairs Minister Alexandra Hill after signing an agreement during news conference at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on an agreement between the U.S. and El Salvador to make it a haven for migrants seeking asylum. (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

A copy of an agreement between the United States and El Salvador says the U.S. may send some asylum-seekers to El Salvador but not until both countries have taken the necessary legal actions and an implementation plan is in place.

The Associated Press obtained an unsigned draft copy of the agreement after acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill Tinoco signed the agreement during a live-streamed event.

The draft says El Salvadorans are excluded from the agreement, which will allow the U.S. to send some asylum-seekers to El Salvador instead of granting them protection in the United States.

Both countries say this is a first step in stemming the flow of migrants north.

The Trump administration has taken major steps over the past year to reduce migration to the U.S.

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3:35 p.m.

The United States and El Salvador have signed an agreement that may eventually force migrants seeking asylum to first seek refuge in El Salvador, one of Central America’s most violent countries, instead of coming to the United States.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill Tinoco signed the agreement Friday, lauding their two countries for working together to stem migration to the U.S.

Hill Tinoco said her country has not been able to give its citizens “enough security or opportunities” to stay home and that the U.S. will help improve the situation.

The agreement could lead to migrants from other countries obtaining refuge in El Salvador even though many Salvadorans are fleeing their nation and seeking asylum in the United States.

Critics say the agreement disregards the safety of people fleeing violence in Central America.

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8:29 a.m.

A senior Trump administration official says the U.S. is planning to sign an agreement to make one of Central America’s most violent countries, El Salvador, a haven for migrants seeking asylum.

The official said acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan will sign a “cooperative asylum agreement” with El Salvador on Friday. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The agreement could lead to migrants from third countries obtaining refuge in El Salvador, even though many Salvadorans are fleeing their nation and seeking asylum in the U.S. It’s the latest effort by the Trump administration to force asylum-seekers in Central America to seek refuge outside the United States.

A Salvadoran delegation has been in the United States meeting with officials.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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