Biden under fire for deportation of vulnerable migrants at southern border
The administration of US President Joe Biden is ramping up deportations and prosecutions of migrants crossing the southern border, under a Trump-era order, that left vulnerable asylum-seekers subjected to sexual abuse and murder at the he hands of drug cartels and human traffickers, right organizations warn.
US authorities are lately flying Central American migrants deep into the Mexican interior, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials.
They said the expulsions are meant to curb repeat border crossings and the spread of the coronavirus.
The Biden administration has also restarted "expedited removal" flights for some migrant families who can't be expelled to Mexico.
According to the DHS officials, the US has carried out six expedited removal flights to Central America, deporting 242 migrant parents and children since the end of July.
In the meantime, details of joint efforts between Guatemala and Mexico are also began trickling out.
Citing a Guatemalan official, AP reported that Mexico is busing migrants from Guatemalans, Honduras and El Salvador to remote border crossings with Guatemala after they arrive on US government flights.
Mexican immigration agency buses are unloading migrants from those flights at international crossings in El Carmen and El Ceibo — a remote outpost where there is a small shelter.
The official said Guatemala is not participating in the joint campaign, though.
UN agencies warn against deportations
The deportations have drawn concerns from United Nations agencies, who warned the authorities about the treatment of vulnerable migrants needing humanitarian protection.
Matthew Reynolds, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative to the United States and Caribbean, warned the flights to southern Mexico strain limited humanitarian resources there and raise the risk of the coronavirus infection.
“Individuals or families aboard those flights who may have urgent protection needs risk being sent back to the very dangers they have fled in their countries of origin in Central America without any opportunity to have those needs assessed and addressed,” Reynolds said in a statement.
Several other refugee agencies, including UNICEF, and the International Organization for Migration expressed concern for Washington’s continued use of the public health justification for not allowing the normal asylum process.