Initially El Salvador objected to the agreement. As the smallest country in the region, it wanted to assume the smallest burden of asylum seekers, aiming to accept only foreign nationals from neighboring countries to which it could easily deport people, a DHS source familiar with the discussions said.
Prior to the pandemic, the US had sent a number of people to Guatemala to seek protection there and had begun sending people to Honduras. However, use of the asylum agreements diminished amid the pandemic as the US began swiftly returning people to Mexico under a public health order, the source added.
It's unclear who will be subject to the agreement between the US and El Salvador, and whether the agreement will be implemented before the change in administrations.
This story has been updated with background and additional details.