"You Don't Have Rights Here" US Border Screening and Returns of Central Americans to Risk of Serious Harm

Clara Long
Date of Publication: 
October, 2014
Source Organization: 

For this report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) collected data from more than 683,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehensions between 2011 and 2012 and interviewed 35 Central American migrants in 2014 who had recently been deported to Honduras or who were in US detention.  

HRW also interviewed border patrol officials in McAllen, Texas, migrant service providers, lawyers, academics, and government officials in Honduras and the United States. The report found flaws in the effectiveness of the screening system of CBP and immigration agencies ostensibly designed to "identify people fleeing serious risks to their lives and safety." Based on her analysis of the data and the first-hand accounts detailed in the report, the author argues that in many cases, expedited removal does not allow for adequate consideration of asylum claims; "...the fears they expressed should have led US immigration authorities to give their cases sufficient scrutiny before they were returned to their home country." The article notes the prevalence of violence, gang wars, sexual harassment and abuse, and the breakdown of the justice system, in the environments into which these migrants are deported.  To increase the accuracy of assessment of the danger of immigrants and to combat the identified priority of CBP officers who have been shown through this research to be focused primarily on removal, rather than an assessment of the dangers present required by the principle of nonrefoulement, the author makes a number of recommendations. These include: having CPB apply a presumption of fear of return to migrants from countries where basic security is lacking, and strengthening legal representation for indigent migrants.  (Kate Lesnewich, Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work)

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Long, C. (2014). You Don't Have Rights Here" US Border Screening and Returns of Central Americans to Risk of Serious Harm. Human Rights Watch. New York: NY. Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/10/16/you-dont-have-rights-here/us-border-screening-and-returns-central-americans-risk