Asylum Cooperation Agreements/”Safe” Third Country Agreements

Updated:

On November 19, 2019, the government issued an interim final rule that went into effect the same day allowing for the U.S. to send individuals seeking asylum along the U.S./Mexico border to countries with which the United States has entered into so-called “Asylum Cooperative Agreements” (ACAs).  Under this rule, individuals are prohibited from applying for asylum in the U.S. and will be removed to a third country if certain requirements are met.  Namely: (1) the U.S. enters into an agreement with a country that is a “third country” for the asylum seeker; (2) the asylum seeker’s “life or freedom would not be threatened in that third country” on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group; and (3) the “third country provides [asylum seekers] removed there…’access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protections.'” The U.S. has reached agreements with Guatemala, EL Salvador and Honduras.  None of these countries are safe for LGBTQ and HIV-positive people, who face widespread persecution and abuse in these countries.  The U.S. has already begun removing people to Guatemala. The policy has been challenged in federal court.

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