"The United States has suspended and initiated the process to terminate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as the first concrete steps on the path to greater partnership and collaboration in the region laid out by President [Joe] Biden," Blinken said in a Saturday statement.
"The termination of these Agreements is effective after the notice period stipulated in each of the Agreements, but their suspension is immediate," he added.
We will deliver on @POTUS’s vision of safe, orderly, and humane regional migration. As we suspend and terminate the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, we will take concrete steps toward greater partnership & collaboration.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 6, 2021
According to Blinken, transfers under the US-Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement had been paused since mid-March 2020, while agreements with El Salvador and Honduras were never implemented.
"To be clear, these actions do not mean that the US border is open. While we are committed to expanding legal pathways for protection and opportunity here and in the region, the United States is a country with borders and laws that must be enforced," Blinken said.
"We are also committed to providing safe and orderly processing for all who arrive at our border, but those who attempt to migrate irregularly are putting themselves and their families at risk on what can be a very dangerous journey," he added.
The safe third country agreements that are now being terminated were part of the Trump administration’s efforts to help alleviate the number of migrants in the US. The agreements required migrants seeking asylum in the US to first apply for protections in the above-mentioned countries (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala).