Since January 2014, as many as 83 undocumented immigrants, having fled violence in their homes countries (only to be deported by the United States), have been murdered upon their return to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. A Guardian investigation identified three separate Honduran men killed in their hometowns.
Last year saw a “surge” in arrivals at the border between U.S. and Mexico, especially of unaccompanied children—66,000 at its peak, in the summer—which has since declined. However, the Guardian reports, while the number of immigrants has decreased, the death rate among those still attempting the journey has risen:
Clara Long, an immigration researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that in the wake of the 2014 surge there had been a “generalized crackdown” across the immigration service. “Detention has been expanded and people are increasingly being put into fast-track deportation procedures in which their claims for asylum are not being properly considered.”
A recent Human Rights Watch report concluded that the increasing use of so-called “expedited removals” of people picked up by US officials along the Mexican border was returning many to potential danger even though they had expressed fears of returning home. “This comes down to our regard for the dignity and lives of others,” Long said. “Part of the identity of the US is that we adhere to international law, and that says that when people flee for their lives, states are obligated to provide them with protection. We are putting people through an increasingly criminalized detention-based system that risks returning people to their deaths.”
Mexico is also deporting migrants seeking refugee: after fleeing Honduras with his sister (they’d witnessed her boyfriend’s murder), 14-year-old Gredis Alexander Hernández was apprehended in Mexico and returned to his home country—first to a group home, and then to his family. Two days later, he was shot twice in the head while he slept. Police said his sister escaped the group home and fled the country again.