Refugees Illegally Being Expelled Into The Jungle By Mexico And US
Mexico has been mass deporting refugees of different nationalities to a remote region of the jungle in Guatemala.
The people which the Mexican government is expelling include Central American families and unaccompanied children, who were initially deported and dumped in Mexico by the United States. According to Human Rights experts, it is unlikely that these deportations have been carried out in line with Mexican, US, and international law.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Former US President Trump, and now US President Joe Biden are responsible for the illicit and inhumane exclusions of refugees. On August 12, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas openly admitted that the United States was increasing its use of 'expulsion flights' to Mexico’s interior. The United States has also increased its calls for Mexico to intercept migrants and refugees before they are able to seek asylum at the US border.
Biden deports 600,000 migrants and refugees
Since February 2021 the Biden administration has expelled more than 600,000 migrants and refugees at the U.S.- Mexico border under an order issued by former President Donald Trump. The Biden administration has been washing its image of responsibility by hiding behind Trump-era legislation and orders, most recently seen in the embarrassing and lethal Afghanistan military withdrawal. The Trump-era order being implemented by Biden justifies expelling refugees during the COVID19 pandemic without giving them a legal chance to seek protection.
In Mexico, immigration agents have denied refugees the chance to seek asylum and illegally forced them to cross into Guatemala without notifying consular officials or the Guatemalan government. Some people have even been expelled while legally waiting on asylum applications in Mexico. Those who have been expelled are left with nowhere to sleep and no financial or consular means to return to their home countries. This has increased the risk to their lives and to falling victim to organized crime groups which are known to traffick, rape, and enslave women and children. “Abandoning vulnerable families in the remote Guatemalan jungle without money, food, or shelter and ignoring their requests for asylum is a new low for President López Obrador,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.
The Mexican president López Obrador who has made a carrier out of self-identifying as a populist leftist voice; repeatedly claiming to stand up to the United States has shown that in practice he falls very short. President Obrador has so far bent to the will of US policy at every opportunity. First under Trump and now under Biden where he continues to facilitate some of the United States’ most abusive anti-immigration policies. Not only has he shown himself willing to serve U.S. interests but has even gone a step further towards replicating the United States' abusive policies on Mexico’s southern border. Ultimately, outsourcing US human rights abuses to Mexico. Mexican authorities have separated families, kicked and beaten refugees and migrants, broken into private homes in search of refugees and migrants, and assaulted journalists, activists, and representatives of Mexico’s human rights commission, who attempt to document human rights abuses. Recently, Mexican authorities attacked refugee and migrant caravans, which included Haitians seeking refuge after their country collapsed after decades of rule by organized crime, US corporate interventions, military occupations, and natural disasters.
La brutal cacería del @INAMI_mx y la @GN_MEXICO_ contra los migrantes que huyeron de su país y de #Tapachula en el sur de #Mexico donde les encarcelan sin acceso a documentos ni a trabajos. La #CaravanaMigrante ha mermado pero avanza hacia el norte 1/1 pic.twitter.com/WLGGCRLYRo— Benjamin Alfaro (@Tapabav) August 29, 2021
Into The Jungle
At the beginning of August 2021, the Biden administration began expelling some Central American refugees and migrants via air to southern Mexico which are close to the Guatemalan border. That same month Mexican immigration authorities began illegally busing refugees and migrants to the Mexican side of the remote El Ceibo border crossing in the Lacandón Jungle. According to witnesses the buses repeatedly arrived late at night, dropping families and children in total darkness and abandoning them to their luck. At times, the buses have arrived late at night. The authorities have then forced the refugees and migrants to cross the border by foot. Many of those expelled have been forced to sleep on the street upon arrival in El Ceibo. A humanitarian worker has stated that Mexican immigration agents have openly admitted to victims that they were intentionally being dumped at “the most remote border crossing” so they would “learn their lesson.” Showing that Mexican authorities not only know that what they are doing is illegal but feel safe enough in their impunity to taunt their victims about it. Mexican authorities have been summarily expelling small groups of refugees and migrants into Guatemala since at least April, but began mass expulsions in August.
Mexico illegally dumping people in Guatemala
Some of the expelled victims asked the US and Mexican immigration agents for asylum but were illegally told that it would not be possible. Other refugees have said that they had already applied for or received asylum in Mexico, but that authorities instead falsely and knowingly claimed their legal documents were fake or invalid and even confiscated and destroyed them before deporting them. There are repeated reports that Mexican immigration agents are confiscating non-Guatemalan identity documents before expelling refugees and migrants to Guatemala. According to Human Rights Watch, "Mexican immigration authorities have not coordinated these expulsions with the Guatemalan government; nor notified the Guatemalan, Honduran, or Salvadoran consulates; nor arranged for onward transport." The victims include nationals of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, Belize, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.
In a statement on August 17, the Guatemalan Foreign Relations Ministry expressed concern that it had not been notified of the expulsions. Guatemalan immigration authorities began to coordinate with civil society groups on August 30 so they could receive expelled migrants, provide medical checks, and sometimes transport them.
What laws are the US and Mexico breaking?
Under Mexican law, immigration authorities are required to tell anyone in their custody where and why they are being detained. Authorities are also required to provide information in writing about the right to apply for asylum or other regular legal status in Mexico. Under International Law, Mexican and US immigration authorities are prohibited from deporting anyone who has requested or been granted asylum in Mexico or the United States. The right to seek asylum is a core principle of international human rights law.
Refugees have the right to seek protection abroad and to have their cases heard by authorities. Expelling refugees without allowing them to make their claims violates the Refugee Convention, the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights, all treaties to which Mexico is a party. Furthermore, the Biden administration has claimed to respect human rights and to be in favour of more human governance, a claim which is rapidly evaporating.