U.S. Makes Deal to Deport Asylum Seekers to Country It Recently Helped Make More Dangerous

A man originally from Honduras looks at a map of the United States at a church housing asylum seekers after they were released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on June 3, 2019 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

The governments of Honduras and the United States agreed to a deal on Wednesday that would allow the U.S. to deport asylum seekers to Honduras, another policy from the Trump administration that will by default put vulnerable people in more dangerous situations.

Evidence shows that the U.S. legitimized a military coup in Honduras in 2009, leading to conditions that drive people to make the incredibly dangerous journey North. The agreement would apparently allow the U.S. to deport asylum seekers at the Southern border to Honduras if they passed through the country previously and did not ask that government for protection.

“It will allow migrants to seek protection as close to home as possible,” a Homeland Security official told reporters. It’s funny, I thought their asylum claims made it clear that they didn’t want to be close to home.

The U.S. signed similar agreements with El Salvador on Sept. 20 and Guatemala on July 26. The ballooning criminalization of migration within the U.S., paired with the country’s legacy of military intervention in Latin America, leaves many innocent people with nowhere to flee gang violence in economies driven deeply into debt.

Thousands of people protested in Honduras last month against President Juan Orlando Hernández, who denied accusations that he had taken drug money in 2013 to secure his election.

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On the independent television news show Democracy Now in July, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya explained in Spanish that the migration is the direct result of U.S. military intervention in Central America (emphasis mine):

In focusing on migration, they’re going to look for some solution to the system that is provoking the migrants, because everyone talks about migration, but the causes of migration are the U.S. policies, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] policies, the policies of the [U.S.] Southern Command for this region, are provoking more and more migrants with each passing day. So, militarizing Central America, militarizing Honduras means that that escape valve that the Honduran people have had, which is to be able to get work in the United States—and the Honduran people haven’t even looked for jobs in the United States. It is the U.S. businesses. U.S. businesses, for example, have large crops and cannot pay a U.S. person to work in the countryside. They give the travel expenses to the family members of those who are their employees, and that is why there’s massive migration to work in the United States. They might work six months or a year, and then go back and then return. Migration is a human process, seeking to find solutions. When they militarize the border, what they are going to provoke here will be greater convulsions, greater explosions.

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Zelaya also added that “democracy is the way forward for Honduras and Central America. The United States should learn to live with democracy and not be creating repressive policies against us. We have the same right that they do to be able to make a living and live in freedom.”

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