Amnesty International has said the United States and Mexico have returned tens of thousands of migrant children traveling alone to their home country, denying them access to asylum and often endangering their lives. report (PDF) published Friday.
According to the report of the UK-based rights organization, the United States has deported the majority of unaccompanied Mexican minors, while Mexico has expelled most Central American children who have entered their homes. frontiers – without effectively assessing the dangers they may face.
“What we have found is that the governments of the United States and Mexico sent tens of thousands of unaccompanied migrant children to their countries of origin without adequate screening for the damage they might face here,” Brian Griffey said. , regional investigator for the North American Amnesty. Al Jazeera.
The report: “Pulsed in Evil: Forced Returns of Unaccompanied Children in Danger by the US and Mexico” found that the United States expelled 10,270 unaccompanied Mexican children from November 2020 to April 2021. The figure represents 95 percent of all arrivals, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Mexican authorities have deported 3,300 migrant children to Central America who will cross its southern borders by 2020, according to the report. In 2019, Mexico returned 12,000 minors.
Amnesty researchers conducted interviews with dozens of migrant children who were told they had been forced into dangerous situations after being denied access to asylum in the United States or Mexico.
The Joe Biden administration that took office in January has continued a policy put in place by his predecessor Donald Trump to expel most migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border under a health measure called “Title 42«.
But the Biden administration has exempted children traveling alone – most of whom come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – from deportation, arguing that keeping children away is cruel and could endanger them.
The United States has allowed migrant children to enter the country and be joined by parents or sponsors while making their asylum applications. Most say they are fleeing persistent poverty and widespread violence by gangs.
But anti-American traffic legislation has exempted Mexican children from the right to access asylum in the United States, according to the 50-page report.
“U.S. border officials conduct a superficial and ineffective examination of unaccompanied Mexican children for risks of harm or being trafficked, and then return the children without ever putting them in immigration proceedings,” the report found.
The results came amid persistent pressure on the Biden administration to curb the number of migrants coming across the southern border of the United States.
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled Guatemala and Mexico earlier this week to meet with leaders of the two nations to coordinate security and development efforts aimed at reducing immigration from the region.
“What that means in practice – is a euphemism for intercepting the same channels that unaccompanied children use coming from Central America to the United States,” Griffey said.
“There needs to be a political will to allow children to pursue immigration claims in the United States,” he said.
But statistics show that the number of children traveling alone had dropped from May to 10,765, up from 13,940 in April. The numbers, although still high, were a marked decrease from the March 18,951 figure.