Amnesty International warned on Friday that the United States and Mexico would deport thousands of unaccompanied migrant children, forcing them to return to “dangerous situations”.
The organization has published a report, Pushed into Hazard, which looks at the return of these minors who are leaving Central American countries to seek refuge in the United States.
“The governments of the United States and Mexico are returning tens of thousands of unaccompanied children in search of safety to the countries they have just fled, without proper screening and protection from the dangers of their return . “Amnesty denounced in a statement.
With this in mind, the organization regrets that the “commitment” of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and US Vice President Kamala Harris to “strengthen immigration control coordination” means “expanding the interception and repatriation of thousands” of unaccompanied children in their countries of origin to a potential danger. “
According to Amnesty International, children are one of three migrants and asylum seekers in the area, including many who were forced to cross the border separately from their asylum-seeking families after being turned away by US border authorities.
The organisation’s America director, Erika Guevara Rosas, has warned that the repatriation of these minors from the United States will be “short term” and “only an hour after they have sought refuge” while the deportation of children from Central America from Mexico ” despite the fact that they have family in the United States with whom they are trying to reunite “.
“This policy is dangerous and unbearable. The United States and Mexico must stop denying unaccompanied children their universal human rights to seek asylum and family reunification, no matter where they are from, ”he said.
Since President Biden took office in January 2021, around 50,000 unaccompanied migrant children have entered the United States in search of safety, many of them separated from their families trapped in northern Mexico after being denied asylum seekers US border with Mexico, the organization reported.
According to US authorities, about 80 percent of unaccompanied children try to hang out with relatives in the United States, and about 20 percent are from Mexico.
Amnesty International criticized Washington for “continuing to promptly return almost all unaccompanied Mexican children” through the “improper” application of an anti-trafficking law that allows the United States to quickly return children from Mexico or Canada.
This practice, which the group has condemned, continues despite President Joe Biden’s pledge to stop returning unaccompanied children after abandoning the application of Donald Trump’s mandate policy on unaccompanied minors, which consisted of rejecting all migrants and Asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border on the basis of a “misleading” public health order under “Title 42” of the US Criminal Code.
In this regard, the organization recalled that US law provides that Customs and Border Protection must select unaccompanied Mexican children prior to return to ensure that they are not trafficked or in danger if returned .
However, Amnesty International has claimed that it has learned from lawyers, orphanage officials and childcare authorities in Mexico that the United States continues to “quickly” return and seek asylum in the United States for almost all unaccompanied Mexican children. “
On the flip side, unaccompanied Central American minors traveling to the United States via Mexico “often find themselves fleeing violence and meeting with their families” in response to the return of Mexican immigration authorities, warns Amnesty International.
In 2019 and 2020, 90 percent and 70 percent of the children in custody were deported from Central America, he said.
He has warned that Mexican immigration authorities launched “major operations” in the north and south of the country in 2021 to intercept unaccompanied minors and bring them back to their homes, after which the childcare authorities take over these children and “often lock them up”. in closed shelters “and” in the vast majority of cases they find that the minors’ best interest is their return to the countries of origin from which they have fled “.
The Mexican authorities, which are responsible for child protection on the United States’ border with Mexico, have said, according to the organization, that Mexico continues to deport up to 85 percent of unaccompanied children from Central America in some places.
So far this year, the Mexican authorities appear to have deported around half of the unaccompanied children they have taken into custody across the country. However. “As the immigration status of many of these children has not yet been clarified, it is likely that deportation rates will end up being higher,” the organization said.