Refugees International joined over 70 other NGOs in releasing a statement in response to the redirection of funds from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as officially restated by the Department of State on June 17, 2019.
In remarks at Saint John’s Church, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz explains that for many tens of thousands of Central Americans—and even hundreds of thousands—forced migration is fueled by well-founded fears of women, men, and children about serious and striking abuses of their human rights.
Refugees International welcomes the co-hosting of the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America. But in the context of a conference addressing security, it is appalling that the Administration’s public statements about the conference have not specifically addressed the critical need to protect the lives of women, men, and children being returned to Central America.
Both the United States and Mexico are deporting individuals with significant protection needs back to Honduras and El Salvador – the countries from which they fled. In this report, Refugees International (RI) finds that the protection process at every stage – from asylum application to deportation to reintegration into the country of origin – suffers from serious failures that ultimately put lives at risk. The RI research also found that despite important investments in reception services for deportees, both Honduras and El Salvador have weak protection systems.
The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security has decided not to extend the Temporary Protected Status designation for El Salvador. That decision impacts more than 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States and potentially undermines the stability of El Salvador should they be forced to return. The policy brief outlines the implications of the TPS decision.
Beginning in the summer of 2013, unusually high numbers of children, both on their own and with their mothers, crossed the southern border of the United States. The numbers increased again last fall, with some 21,500 family units apprehended at the U.S. border between October and December 2015 — almost three times as many as the same period the year before. While there has been much debate about the cause of this surge, pervasive violence in the countries of origin is a major factor. Refugees International has reported on the extreme violence and lack of protection that drives many such persons to risk this often dangerous and uncertain journey to the U.S
From the massive migration of an estimated 70,000 unaccompanied children to the U.S. border this past summer to President Barack Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform, issues facing Central America have entered the national spotlight here in the US. The underlying internal displacement trends within Central America have not received as much attention, but are perhaps even more important as they reveal a frightening relationship between gang violence and forced migration within Central America.