The first plane of deported children and mothers was sent back to Honduras last month. At least five of the children deported to Honduras have since been killed in the violence they attempted to escape, the L.A. Times reports
Hector Hernandez runs the morgue is San Pedro Sula, where the deportees arrive. He told the L.A. Times:
There are many youngsters who only three days after they’ve been deported are killed, shot by a firearm. They return just to die.
The L.A. Times piece continues,
In one case, a teenage boy was shot to death hours after arriving in San Pedro Sula on a deportation flight, according to the boy’s cousin, who refused to identify himself or the boy to The Times for fear of reprisal from neighborhood gangs.
There have been 42 children in Hernandez’ morgue due to the violence in the country since February, according to the L.A. Times, and of those, he suspects that at least five and as many as ten were children deported from the United States. These children clearly need our help, not an expedited trip through the immigration system and a plane ticket home. So why are things going so horribly wrong?
A lot of it has to do with politics, Think Progress reports. Those who see the surge as the result of immigration reform instead of the result of violence in their home countries are pushing for deportation, and calling on the governments of these countries to do better for their citizens.
But this doesn’t take into account how difficult it is for these children to navigate such a complicated system, and to do so with no support or guidance. Vox found cases where children did not communicate the violence they feared at home until it is too late. One young woman explained that she fled Honduras due to fears of being forced into prostitution, but only after she had been processed.
The burden should not be on these children to prove that they deserve our help instead of deportation. And sending money – to tune of $18.5 million – to the local governments may not be enough.
Angelica Galvez was one of the mothers deported back to Honduras on the first flight in July. When asked about the government’s ability to step in and help, she told the L.A. Times, “They haven’t helped me before. Why should I believe them now?”
Deportation these children is not helping the situation – it is putting them back in harm’s way after they have risked their lives to escape violence we cannot even imagine. We must find a way to help these children. Otherwise, we are culpable as we send them back to die.