Refugees International Statement on DHS Misuse of State Department Funding in Guatemala

Please see below statement from Refugees International:

“Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Democratic staff published a report documenting how U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents working in Guatemala in January 2020 misused U.S. Department of State funding to illegally arrest and transport Honduran migrants—including women and children and possibly asylum seekers—to the Honduran border.

As the SFRC report notes, “DHS may have contributed to new incidents of family separation, facilitated the forcible return of refugees, or otherwise added to the protection risks faced by asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants.” This action is emblematic of how, as Refugees International has documented, DHS overreach and the current administration’s singular focus on curbing irregular migration from Central America has led to egregious violations of human rights. Indeed, foreign policy that is driven by anti-immigrant animus can lead to nothing else. 

In addition to recommending much-needed oversight measures including State and DHS Inspector General investigations, the SFRC report emphasizes that the State Department must reassert its control over policy and activities in Central America. Refugees International supports this recommendation and calls for the State Department to halt all actions that compromise the human rights of Central Americans on the move. The State Department should also continue funding initiatives that address the needs of Central Americans in their home countries and provide greater stability and prosperity to the region.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Sarah Sheffer at

“Ajo Border Patrol Station Groundbreaking” by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0