{"code":"24122","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"3460","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202003\/el_salvador\/24122","link_edit":"","name":"The U.S. Will Continue Sending Deportees to El Salvador Despite the Country\u2019s Coronavirus Quarantine","slug":"the-u-s-will-continue-sending-deportees-to-el-salvador-despite-the-country-rsquo-s-coronavirus-quarantine","info":"Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, confirmed that the United States, despite having over a thousand cases of coronavirus, would continue with deportations to El Salvador and Guatemala as normal. The Trump administration is also awaiting, \u201cliterally any day,\u201d for El Salvador to begin receiving asylum seekers who the United States turns away, and has determined that the country is ready.","mtag":"Migration","noun":{"html":"Nelson Rauda","data":{"nelson-rauda":{"sort":"","slug":"nelson-rauda","path":"nelson_rauda","name":"Nelson Rauda","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"3460","pict":{"cms-image-000033091-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"33091","name":"cms-image-000033091.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033091.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000033091.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000033091-jpg","text":"<p>A passenger at El Salvador\u2019s international airport gets his temperature checked while wearing a mask to protect against the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. Photo by Marvin Recinos\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EA passenger at El Salvador\u2019s international airport gets his temperature checked while wearing a mask to protect against the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. Photo by Marvin Recinos\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":33091,"date":{"live":"2020\/03\/13"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2020","data_post_dateLive_MM":"03","data_post_dateLive_DD":"13","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EDeportation flights from the United States to El Salvador will continue normally, a Trump administration official announced on Thursday, despite the national quarantine declared by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele a day before. \u201cDeportation activities and flights will continue. However, we\u2019re in negotiations with these countries about the coronavirus,\u201d Mark Morgan, acting director of Customs and Border Patrol, said. Morgan didn\u2019t expand on these \u201cnegotiations.\u201d He made the announcement in a press call with journalists on March 12.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMorgan acknowledged the \u201cthreat of a disease outbreak in the southern border is very real\u201d after saying that Honduras has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus and Mexico has 13. The possibility that flights with deportees may be a contagion point already caused alarm in Guatemala on March 10, when one of these flights arrived with 82 people from Miami. It was later confirmed that no passengers were infected with the disease. In the United States, there are more than 1,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 41 deaths.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EDuring 2019, about 3,200 people were deported from the United States and Mexico to El Salvador every month. The Mexican Institute for Migration told El Faro that, for the moment, deportations are continuing. On March 10, Honduras suspended the flight of a group of deportees from Mexico, even though it\u2019s still receiving deportees arriving via ground.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=2000&ImageHeight=1333&ImageId=33091\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"A passenger at El Salvador\u2019s international airport gets his temperature checked while wearing a mask to protect against the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. Photo by Marvin Recinos\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EA passenger at El Salvador\u2019s international airport gets his temperature checked while wearing a mask to protect against the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. Photo by Marvin Recinos\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMorgan said all cases of people detained by immigration authorities in the United States go through the same evaluation process applied along all U.S. borders. \u201cBorder Patrol agents apply the same coronavirus test that we are doing in airports,\u201d Morgan said. \u201cIf an individual shows signs or symptoms, medical authorities make sure they receive medical containment, attention and further tests.\u201d A spokeswoman for the Salvadoran Immigration Department told El Faro that all people on deportation flights will be assigned the same protocol given to \u201cevery person who arrives.\u201d Javier Argueta, a legal advisor to El Salvador\u2019s president, told El Faro that the presidential decree says \u201cevery Salvadoran who comes into the country must be quarantined for 30 days. There are no excuses regarding nation of origin, condition, or port of entry.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn a statement, commissioner Gabriel Mayorga, head of the Special Airport Unit, said all Salvadorans who return to the country after traveling have two options: \u201cEither they are quarantined for 21 days and are housed in a shelter in Jiquilisco,\u201d or they return to the country they arrived from.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe lack of clarity regarding this protocol, however, has caused confusion and chaos both at the airport and at the various points of entry on El Salvador\u2019s borders. During an evening press conference on March 12, the government announced that it has prepared a shelter in Jiquilisco, Usulutan, with capacity for 400 people, and where there are already 100 people being held. By the end of Thursday, there were 350 Salvadoran in quarantine because of the coronavirus. President Bukele asked El Salvador\u2019s defense minister to turn military barracks into a shelter for people in quarantine. The government also shared protocols for home quarantines. Press secretary Ernesto Sanabria did not respond to El Faro\u2019s questions about the criteria required to send potentially-infected people to these different mandatory quarantine shelters.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EMorgan: El Salvador Ready to Receive Refugees from the United States\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u003C\/strong\u003EThe risk of coronavirus transmission from people coming from the United States isn\u2019t limited only to deported Salvadorans. The Trump administration confirmed on March 12 that it plans on sending asylum seekers to El Salvador this very month, under the conditions set by an accord signed in September 2019. \u201cNegotiations are going great, I have no doubt that El Salvador is ready and we\u2019re predicting that the asylum agreement will be online literally any day now,\u201d Mark Morgan told El Faro.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EFour hours before president Bukele announced the national quarantine, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.buzzfeednews.com\/article\/hamedaleaziz\/el-salvador-us-asylum-seekers-plan\"\u003EBuzzFeed News reported\u003C\/a\u003E about a secret meeting between Bukele, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and other members of Trump\u2019s government, during which they came up with the final details for the implementation of the asylum agreement. This deal would turn El Salvador into an alternative \u201csafe country\u201d for those who\u2019ve applied to the United States.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to Buzzfeed, the process will being this month, and the U.S. government hopes to send about 2000 asylum seekers to El Salvador this year. Between 2014 and 2018, only 73 people applied for asylum in El Salvador, according to statistics from the United Nations. In that same time span, the country only granted asylum to 28 people, according to a response from the ministry of foreign affairs. The office in charge of processing asylum claims is the Commission for the Determination of Refugees (CODER, in Spanish) and, as of October of 2019, had a total of nine employees. If the numbers cited by Buzzfeed are accurate, El Salvador would have to process 15 people a day to reach 2000 for the year. A source in the ministry of foreign affairs told El Faro on March 11 that there have not been significant changes to the office\u2019s capacity.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cWe want to make sure that El Salvador is ready, is capable, and is prepared with logistics, with everything that it takes to receive individuals,\u201d Morgan said. \u201cWe must do it right\u2026 [that] all the plans are set in place so that we can do this in a humane and compassionate way,\u201d he said.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EMorgan praised the conditions in El Salvador\u2019s Migrant Attention Center, which \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/sv.usembassy.gov\/es\/comisionado-de-aduanas-y-proteccion-fronteriza-de-ee-uu-visito-el-salvador\/\"\u003Ehe visited this February\u003C\/a\u003E, the place where deported Salvadorans are received back into the country. It was the first mention that this location would be used as part of the asylum agreement. \u201cI saw firsthand not only were the facilities themselves, I think, ready \u2013 they looked good, clean, they had everything that they needed,\u201d he said. He added that the areas designated for children he would like to replicate in the United States. He also praised El Salvador\u2019s immigration officers. \u201cIt was really incredible to not only see the facilities that I think are ready and capable, but also to hear from the employees themselves that would be working in these reception centers.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENeither the ministry of foreign affairs or the president\u2019s press secretary responded to requests from El Faro about the imminent implementation of the asylum agreement. El Faro also asked if asylum seekers would be exempt from the prohibition of the entry of foreigners to the country, and received no response.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe mention of the asylum agreement also revived a debate over its legality. ARENA congress member Marcela Villatoro, told El Faro that the foreign ministry promised to send the agreement to congress for ratification. According to Villatoro, member of the foreign relations committee, that promise was made at a February 27 meeting at the foeign ministry. FMLN congress member Gustavo Acosta, also confirmed to El Faro that the executive branch has not made a formal request to congress to ratify the agreement and there are no proceedings under way. The asylum agreement establishes that both countries must determine the legal requirements necessary before implementation. Between November 2019 and this March, the United States has sent around 800 asylum seekers\u2014mostly Hondurans and Salvadorans\u2014to Guatemala, as part of a similar agreement.\u003C\/p\u003E"}