WASHINGTON – Today, at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters in Washington, D.C., Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill, and Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli announced the two countries have signed a number of documents to implement greater collaboration on information sharing, border and aviation security, and international diplomacy, and announced additional time for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to repatriate.
DHS photo by Tim Godbee
“Today’s agreements will significantly help the U.S. and our partners in El Salvador confront illegal migration and will strengthen the entire region as we approach the implementation of asylum cooperative agreements,” said Acting Secretary McAleenan. “We are again thankful for El Salvador’s leadership in the region and close coordination with the U.S. and DHS. Under President Bukele, El Salvador has proven to be a close and trusted ally to the U.S. Our close geographical proximity, common principles, and democratic values have led to a strong partnership over the years, from addressing historical migration flows to efforts to build a more stable and prosperous region.”
“The agreement between our two countries is a tremendous step forward to address security concerns of aliens entering the U.S. at our Southern border,” said Acting Director Cuccinelli. “We are grateful for the leadership El Salvador has shown in realizing that by working together, we can better assure the safety of our people, discourage illegal immigration, and identify potential threats to both of our countries.”
“The Salvadorans protected by the TPS are admirable people, who have worked for 20 years to build a future of well-being. Now, thanks to President Bukele, we can tell nearly 250,000 fellow citizens and their families that with the support of the United States they can continue to fight for their dreams. They are not alone. We will continue to work 24/7 for a permanent solution” said El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill.
Acting Secretary McAleenan and Minister Hill signed two more key arrangements as part of the regional, comprehensive approach to irregular migration.
Under the Border Security Arrangement, the U.S. will deploy officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to advise and mentor their El Salvadoran national police, border security, immigration, and customs counterparts to further enhance their current operation model and share best practices to support criminal investigations, countering human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Through the Biometric Data Sharing Program Arrangement, DHS and El Salvador will enhance cooperation to prevent and combat crime and other threats to public security through the expansion of biometric data collection and information sharing.
The agreements signed today are in addition to the recently signed Asylum Cooperative Agreement between DHS and El Salvador on Sept. 20, 2019.
The U.S. and El Salvador continue to make significant progress on a comprehensive regional approach to addressing irregular migration patterns. The two countries are currently cooperating on several initiatives to reduce the flow of irregular migration and ensure the safety and protection of vulnerable populations, especially children.
Follow this link for a DHS fact sheet of recent agreements with El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to confront irregular migration and transnational criminal organizations.
Updated Timeline for TPS
The Trump Administration is extending the validity of work permits for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through January 4, 2021. Additionally, the Trump Administration is providing El Salvadorans with TPS an additional 365 days after the conclusion of the TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate back to their home country.
Under President Bukele’s leadership, El Salvador has been a trusted and reliable partner in addressing the crisis at the southwest border and repatriating Salvadorian nationals. The U.S. looks forward to El Salvador’s continued cooperation building asylum capacity and commitment to stopping illegal migration in the region. The United States is the most humanitarian country on earth and will continue to be.
TPS is a legal mechanism to provide temporary status for some foreigners who need humanitarian relief. The Administration’s goal is to create an orderly and responsible process to repatriate Salvadorans and help them return home; however, a sudden inflow of 250,000 individuals to El Salvador could spark another mass migration to the U.S. and reinvigorate the crisis at the southern border. Taking into account these concerns, we have decided to provide additional time to work out that plan. We cannot allow the progress the President has made the past several months to be negated.