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Press Release

US-El Salvador “cooperative agreement” would send asylum-seekers into harm’s way

An agreement authorizing the United States to send asylum-seekers at the Southern border to El Salvador would put thousands needing protection in harm’s way, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

The “cooperative asylum agreement” would send thousands of asylum-seekers from the US-Mexico border to El Salvador, a country with levels of violence akin to those of war zones like Syria - all while thousands of Salvadorans flee these conditions for the United States.

Around 300,000 Salvadorans a year are internally-displaced; last year one woman was murdered every 20 hours. The IRC’s team in El Salvador works with families impacted by some of the world’s highest levels of gang violence, gender-based violence, poverty and conflict.

Meghan Lopez, Country Director for El Salvador at the International Rescue Committee said:

“The U.S. administration is attempting once more to turn its back on extremely vulnerable people. This is in contravention of America’s laws, interests and values.”

“El Salvador is not safe for many of its own nationals and is struggling to meet their needs, which is why many seek asylum in the United States. It is unrealistic to expect El Salvador to be able to offer protection to asylum-seekers fleeing conditions comparable to those in El Salvador.”

“It seems El Salvador was put in an impossible position: accept this deal or remain without foreign aid. The Trump Administration should refocus its attention from preventing protection for vulnerable people to stabilizing the region, and re-examining its misguided decision to cut aid to the Northern Triangle especially if it expects these countries to be part of the solution.”

The IRC is working in El Salvador to support the basic needs of Salvadorans affected by violence by delivering CuéntaNos.org, an interactive digital information platform that provides trustworthy, up-to-date information and strengthens coordination between around 120 service providers and government institutions, providing cash and other emergency assistance to the most vulnerable, and working with local partners to improve the quality of their services.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.