As most Republicans demand the immediate return of the 55,000 or so child refugees fleeing Central America for the United States (in direct contravention of the law, incidentally), those who are being deported are facing serious violence upon their return. At least five children have been murdered after being sent back to Honduras alone.
Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.
San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.
Since October 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended about 63,000 unaccompanied children and another 63,000 “family units” (adults and children) at the southern U.S. border. While a steady stream of deported immigrants are flown back to Honduras about three times per week, the United States sent its first planeload of about 40 Honduran mothers and children from this particular wave in mid-July. Those individuals were dropped off in Honduras’ capital San Pedro Sula.
To hear conservatives tell it, all these kids are drug mules, gang members and terrorists. The reality is that they are fleeing appalling conditions of poverty and violence and the only humane thing to do is to help them, not send them away.