MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Unauthorized migrants to the United States are at risk of serious harm, including rape and murder, when they are sent home after rapid-fire screening at the US border, US immigration researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW) Clara Long said Thursday.
"The US government's fast-track screening of migrants is ignoring the very real fears of the people arriving at the border," Long said. "In its frenzy to stem the tide of migrants from Central America, the US is sending asylum seekers back to the threat of murder, rape, and other violence."
The "You Don't Have Rights Here" report by Long describes US border practices that put migrants at risk of grave harm back in their home countries. The report is based on the account of people from Honduras who had been repatriated, people in detention, and an analysis of deportation data.
HRW was told by the Hondurans who had been deported from the United States that upon their return they feared for their lives, as they returned to an environment where they faced threats from brutal gangs. The migrants said that the Border Patrol officers appeared to be focused on deporting them.
HRW interviewed 35 migrants, 25 of whom had been recently deported to Honduras and 10 of whom were Central American migrants in detention in Artesia, New Mexico, and Karnes, Texas. The organization pointed out that Border Patrol officers often failed to identify asylum seekers, with only 1.9 percent of Hondurans flagged as possible asylum seekers in 2011 and 2012.
The HRW report urges the US authorities to address border policies that put migrants at risk, to cease fast-tracking migrants for deportation, to allow them adequate opportunity to make a claim for asylum, and to reverse the decision to expand the detention of migrants and increase migrants' access to legal aid.