Here’s why the U.S. did not afford the mother the opportunity to request asylum in America.
A 23-year-old mother and her two sick children were recently deported to Guatemala at the end of January after U.S. immigration officials determined they were ineligible for asylum. The family initially fled their native country of Honduras back in September 2019, after the mother received threats from a local gang. Upon reaching the U.S.-Mexico border in late December, the mother and her two daughters were placed in a CPB holding facility.
During the time the family was held in the facility, the woman’s daughters allegedly grew ill and needed ongoing medical treatment. While the six-year-old was diagnosed with the flu, the woman’s lawyers (who she later began working with after her arrival to the U.S.) stated that her one-year-old began suffering from a fever and diarrhea, which they believe “stems from inadequate food and unsanitary living conditions while in CBP custody.” CBS News highlighted that the one-year-old had been undergoing treatment at a hospital in McAllen, TX prior to the family being deported.
Although the young mother had planned to request asylum here in the U.S. and even expressed her fear of persecution, she “was not referred for a so-called “credible fear,” interview.” Instead, she was given two options, to either return to Honduras or be sent to Guatemala. As dangerous as it would be for a woman and two small kids to go to a country where they have no friends, family, or anyone else they know, she chose this option as she knew returning to Honduras could cost her and her daughters their lives.
Why wasn’t the young mother given the option to request asylum in the U.S.?
As the Trump administration continues to enforce and modify immigration laws, more and more individuals are being forced to leave the U.S. rather than utilize the asylum system that once offered protection to those who needed it. Rather than allowing someone such as the young mother mentioned above to receive protection from the U.S. government, she and many others just like her are being given an alternative—that is to either return to their home country or to a country that has agreed to accept asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S.
What prompted the denial of asylum to migrants traveling from Central America?
In 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entered into several agreements (Asylum Cooperative Agreements, or ACAs) with countries in the northern region of Central America, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala that aim to “further expand asylum capabilities and improve safety, security, and prosperity throughout the region.” DHS believes these agreements will “allow migrants to seek protection within the region by facilitating cooperation between the U.S. and host national governments or international organizations to expand their systems for offering humanitarian protections.”
One of the agreements, the safe-third country agreement, is one that is expected to help with the “migrant crisis,” as DHS refers to it. Under this agreement, an immigrant seeking protection in the U.S. would be required to seek asylum in a country they traveled through. Migrants are given the option to either continue with their pursuit to seek asylum from one of the countries the government has signed an agreement with or return home. Unfortunately, many of the countries DHS has signed agreements with aren’t exactly providing migrants with the safe environment they are seeking for them and their families.
DHS also entered into another agreement, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which stipulates that migrants who are seeking asylum at the southern border will be given the option to either be sent to Guatemala, back to their home country, or to enter into the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and wait in Mexico. Those who choose to wait outside the U.S. will need to do so “for the duration of their immigration proceedings, where Mexico will provide them with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay.”
DHS believes these agreements are essential to have as they not only address the crisis, but they will also help with “securing the borders, enforcing immigration and customs laws, facilitating legal trade and travel, counter traffickers, smugglers and transnational criminal organizations, and interdict drugs and illegal contraband.”
Unfortunately, there are many families who are dire need of protection from the U.S. who will not be able to get it.
The struggles families will endure when attempting to seek asylum in the U.S. is unfortunate. Instead of being given the opportunity to provide a safe environment for their children, many immigrants are being deported to countries with conditions similar to those they initially fled from. If you or a family member have entered the U.S. and would like to find out what you need to do to significantly reduce your chances of being deported, contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration to speak with an Atlanta, GA deportation attorney.
Our Atlanta, GA deportation lawyers can help you understand what your rights are and what course of action would be best to take to so that you and/or your family is given the opportunity to remain in the U.S. To speak with an attorney in the Atlanta area now, call us at 404-816-8611
Kuck | Baxter Immigration can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350