Department of Homeland Security

US to send asylum-seekers to Honduras, preventing claims from being made in America: report

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The U.S. plans to send asylum-seekers to Honduras, regardless if they are from there, preventing them from making claims to stay in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Documents obtained by the Times indicate that former Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan signed a deal with Honduras’s foreign minister María Dolores Agüero on Sept. 25 that would permit the U.S. to send the people seeking asylum to Honduras without the opportunity to apply in the U.S. The Times obtained the agreement this week.

The U.S. has reached a similar deal with Guatemala, but this agreement says outright the asylum-seekers would not have a second chance to apply in the U.S.

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson said in a statement that the department “does not forcibly remove asylum seekers to Guatemala to seek asylum.”

“Rather, when they are screened for eligibility, the vast majority of individuals opt to return to their home country instead,” the spokesperson said.

Advocates quickly condemned the DHS deal, saying it would prevent many Central Americans that are seeking safety from entering the U.S.

“These agreements are anything but safe — the Trump administration is rejecting our moral obligations and shipping asylum seekers to the very same danger zones that they are fleeing,” Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.), who was born in Guatemala, said, according to the Times.

The deal is the latest effort the Trump administration has made to reduce the number of asylum seekers from the U.S.-Mexico border. It has made other agreements with Guatemala and El Salvador, in an “effort to share the distribution of hundreds of thousands of asylum claims,” the administration said, according to the Times.

The Honduras agreement came after the White House in July made protection ineligible for any person who traveled through another country and didn’t apply for asylum there before requesting it in the U.S.

Updated: 4:45 p.m.

Tags asylum-seekers El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Immigration Norma Torres U.S.-Mexico border

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