The United States and El Salvador have signed a cooperation agreement on security and migration. Under the terms of the agreement, El Salvador has committed to working with the United States to improve border controls and exchange information on organised crime.
The United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, Alexandra Hill, signed the deal following a meeting in which they discussed issues surrounding youth gangs, migration and economic development.
It’s hoped that improvements to El Salvador’s border controls will not only reduce the flow of illegal migrants but also help to tackle the operations of youth gangs and the illegal trafficking of minors.
Another important aspect of the agreement is that the United States has committed to cooperating in the fight against youth gangs and crime, which in the broadest sense of the terms can be understood to include human trafficking, organ smuggling, kidnapping of people for the purposes of selling them into slavery, etc.
El Salvador has committed to sharing biometric data and real-time information on the movements of suspects through both its air and land borders. This could include anyone attempting to enter the country with falsified documents or those wanted for committing crimes by other countries, often related to crimes associated with drug-trafficking.
For their part, the North-Americans recognised efforts made by the Salvadoran authorities to combat and reduce the flow of illegal migration. Furthermore, they explained that help from the United States will be provided on different fronts and will include assisting the police to improve their operational capabilities and increasing access to work visas for Salvadorans.
Despite this, the North-American representatives made clear the agreement does not constitute the establishment of El Salvador as a safe third country, as in the cases of Mexico and Guatemala.
McAleenan concluded that they would continue meetings with representatives of the private sector and that they are open to discussing tariff tables, with the intention of making them more favourable to foreign investment.