The risks faced by Central Americans who are deported from the US

The risks faced by Central Americans who are deported from the US

Most are aware that US President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the US border with Mexico to prevent migration into the States and garner funds for a border wall, but perhaps what is lesser known is the risk faced by Central Americans when they are deported back.

According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Advocacy Manager for Mexico and Central America, Samuel Almeida, a humanitarian crisis that has affected the Central American region for decades continues to be neglected.

"Our patients face many challenges on their route to the US. This population is particularly targeted by criminal organised groups and face kidnappings, sexual violence, and physical and psychological violence.

"On top of that, we also hear reports of the poor conditions they are subjected to in the US prior to deportation. Often, they are kept in very cold rooms for weeks, with limited access to medical care, quality food, clothes or blankets.

"Additionally, some of them are transferred to federal prisons, where they are kept with convicted felons when their only alleged 'crime' was to cross a border."

Mr Almeida says that the current US policies put migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and returnees at great risk and calls for an end to zero-tolerance policies against migrants.

Many people leave their countries because they fear for their lives, and simply have no other option. By denying access, or indeed deporting them back to their place of origin, the US administration shows very little regard for the grave dangers they face.

"It is similarly dangerous to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their asylum claims are processed in the US, where they are in a particularly vulnerable situation and are often targeted by organised criminal groups."

"We hear reports of people witnessing, or being subject to, violence by other inmates in these facilities. Finally, when Hondurans are deported back to their country they are handcuffed throughout the flight.

"All of these experiences have a negative impact on their physical and psychological well-being; during an already traumatising process."

Patients in Choloma, Mexico. Picture: MSF/ Christina Simons.
Patients in Choloma, Mexico. Picture: MSF/ Christina Simons.

MSF operates in Tegucigalpa, where work is dedicated to victims of violence, particularly sexual violence, and Choloma, focused on providing sexual and reproductive care. It also provides services in the cities of Reynosa and Matamoros on the Mexican border with the US, and in the cities of Tegucigalpa and Choloma in Honduras.

Mr Almeida also says that MSF have drawn attention to US authorities regarding the risk returnees face when they are deported to Reynosa at night time.

Reynosa is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, and Almeida proposes the US could deport the returnees in the mornings, to avoid subjecting them to such risks.

More on this topic

Archaeologists find bones of dozens of mammoths in MexicoArchaeologists find bones of dozens of mammoths in Mexico

11-year-old kills teacher in Mexico school shooting11-year-old kills teacher in Mexico school shooting

Mexico gun battle death toll rises after seven more gang members killedMexico gun battle death toll rises after seven more gang members killed

At least 14 dead in Mexico gun battle near Texas borderAt least 14 dead in Mexico gun battle near Texas border


More in this Section

‘Dangerous moment’ as England eases lockdown restrictions, says medical chief‘Dangerous moment’ as England eases lockdown restrictions, says medical chief

Minneapolis overwhelmed again by protests over George Floyd deathMinneapolis overwhelmed again by protests over George Floyd death

US National Guard summoned to aid cities amid custody death protestsUS National Guard summoned to aid cities amid custody death protests

EU urges Trump to rethink American funding cut for WHOEU urges Trump to rethink American funding cut for WHO


Lifestyle

Even in the drug-filled, debauched annals of the rock and roll memoir, Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards And Weep stands out.Mark Lanegan: Drugs, Liam Gallagher and me

Donal Dineen was the man who first brought David Gray and many other emerging artists to our ears. He’s had a lower profile in recent years, but has returned with a new podcast, writes Eoghan O’SullivanDonal Dineen: Pushing the buttons on a new podcast

Is there are science to back up some of the folklore we have grown up with?Appliance of Science: If a cow sits down does that mean it will rain?

This time last year Whiddy Island in West Cork was bustling with people who had caught the ferry for the short trip from Bantry to ramble the island’s boreens as part of the Bantry Walking Festival. Not so this year.Islands of Ireland: Whiddy in the same boat

More From The Irish Examiner