The US Has Finalized An Asylum Agreement With Honduras


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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  • The Trump administration has released an unpublished version of its asylum agreement with Honduras, a deal that will make deporting illegal aliens easier. 
  • The White House has been in talks with every Northern Triangle country in Central America, but so far has only implemented its agreement with Guatemala. 
  • These asylum agreements, the administration argues, mitigates abuse of the U.S. asylum system and ultimately deters foreign nationals from illegally entering the country. 

The Trump administration reached a milestone in its efforts to lock down an asylum agreement with the government of Honduras, which will make it even easier for the United States to deport illegal migrants appearing at the southern border.

The administration on Thursday released an unpublished version of its asylum agreement with Honduras on the Federal Register, and is expected to publish the official version on Friday. The agreement, much like a deal reached with Guatemala in 2019, will allow the United States to reroute some asylum seekers who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border back to Honduras.

The plan will ultimately mitigate the flow of illegal immigration pouring across the southern border, which was hit with a humanitarian crisis in 2019 amid a surge of family units from Central America. Sending migrants back to Central America, the administration argued, weakens the incentive for illegal immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation about the upcoming agreement or when it could go into effect.


Honduran migrants deported from Mexico, wait in a bus before being quarantined to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, upon arrival at Toncontin international airport in Tegucigalpa, on April 14, 2020. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)

The upcoming agreement came as the United States, which is fighting off a global pandemic, is quickly returning nearly all illegal entrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy is part of the administration’s ban on all “non-essential” travel at both the northern and southern borders, an attempt to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

The notice on the Federal Register does not spell out exactly what the agreement with Honduras looks like, but it will likely reflect an asylum agreement that was reached with Guatemala.

Under the deal reached with Guatemala, migrants claiming asylum at the southern border are screened to determine whether they crossed Guatemala during their trek to the United States. If so, migrants are given a choice to either go to Guatemala or return to their home country. Asylum seekers can claim fear of persecution or torture in Guatemala, but would be screened again to determine if their claims are legitimate. (RELATED: Trump Loses Sanctuary City Fight With Chicago)

Immigration hawks praised the development with Honduras on Friday.

“The Trump administration’s finalized asylum agreement with Honduras is revolutionary,” Matthew Tragesser, spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said to the DCNF. “The agreement will help reduce asylum abuse in our country, protect the interests of migrants, and highlights the improved immigration cooperation between the United States and Honduras.”

Tragesser went into detail on how U.S. asylum laws are abused by economic migrants claiming they are in danger, and how the deal with the Honduran government will help mitigate this exploitation.

“Under this agreement, migrants will no longer be able to ‘country shop’ and bypass first safe countries or other nearby countries that can offer protection from government persecution. Migrants who transit through Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border are generally searching for improved job prospects,” he said.

Tension Rise On Mexican Border After Border Patrol Agent Slain Last Week

CAMPO, CA – JULY 30: A US Border Patrol agent searches for tracks after a night of surveillance using night-vision equipment as agents carry out special operations near the US-Mexico border fence following the first fatal shooting of a US Border Patrol agent in more than a decade on July 30, 2009 near the rural town of Campo, some 60 miles east of San Diego, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Tragesser added that seeking economic opportunities does not qualify an individual for asylum in the U.S., and that the high rate of economic migrants could explain why immigration courts approve claims for only about 11 precent of asylum seekers.

Honduras, much like Guatemala, does not have the infrastructure to hold large populations of migrants. However, most immigrants simply choose to return to their home country.

A total of 253,795 unaccompanied children, family units and single adults from Honduras arrived at the southern border in fiscal year 2019, according to data from Customs and Border Protection, making the country one of the largest sources of illegal immigration into the United States.

“Having Honduras participate in an asylum cooperation agreement reveals the outstanding negotiation skills of the Trump administration. Previous administrations have not come up with a similar type of agreement, which may explain why our nation faces a 1,000,000 immigration case backlog in our immigration courts,” Tragesser concluded.

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