The governments of El Salvador and Qatar are negotiating a deal that would ... allow? incentivize? force? the 200,000-plus Salvadoran immigrants soon to be deported from the U.S. to work temporarily in Qatar, according to a description of the plan published Wednesday by Al Jazeera.

It reports that in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the temporary protected status of some 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S., officials from El Salvador and Qatar began to discuss how those people could become guestworkers in the Gulf state—a place that has historically struggled to enforce even basic protections for domestic laborers. (Qatar’s sponsorship system mandates that domestic workers remain employed by the same person or company, largely restricting them from finding new work regardless of the abuses they might have endured.)

Al Jazeera reports:

Presidential communications chief Eugenio Chicas said El Salvador was in talks to see how Salvadorans could be employed in Qatar.

“The kingdom of Qatar ... has held out the possibility of an agreement with El Salvador whereby Salvadoran workers could be brought across in phases (to Qatar),” Chicas told reporters.

After an unspecified period, the Salvadorans would return home, Chicas added, without saying how many workers the programme would encompass.

Hugo Martinez, the Salvadoran foreign minister, said during a visit to Qatar that his country had “very, very skilled” workers to offer the Gulf nation.

Advertisement

“Could be brought across”? “Skilled workers to offer”? Doesn’t sound like the Salvadorans discussed here have any agency in the decision. In fact, it sure sounds like hundreds of thousands of people will be shipped off like cattle to work indefinitely as indentured servants in a place with limited labor rights.