More than 200 migrants deported from the U.S. to El Salvador have been killed or harmed upon returning to dangerous situations they fled, according to a new Human Rights Watch report.
The advocacy group said in the report that in many of the identified cases, the group found a “clear link” between the killing or harm to the reason the migrant fled the country in the first place.
“No government, UN agency, or nongovernmental organization has systematically monitored what happens to deported persons once back in El Salvador. This report begins to fill that gap,” the report states.
“It shows that, as asylum and immigration policies tighten in the United States and dire security problems continue in El Salvador, the US is repeatedly violating its obligations to protect Salvadorans from return to serious risk of harm.”
Javier B. is one of the cases identified by Human Rights Watch. He fled to the U.S. in 2010 when he was 17 to get away from gang recruitment attempts. His mother had already fled to the U.S.
He was denied asylum and deported in March 2017, his mother told Human Rights Watch. He was killed four months later while living with his grandmother, she added.
Human Rights Watch identified 138 cases of Salvadorans killed since 2013 after deportation from the U.S., basing that number off of press counts and court filings as well as interviewing surviving family, community members and officials. The group said its research suggests, however, that the number of those killed is likely larger.
The group additionally identified more than 70 instances in which deportees were subjected to sexual violence, torture and other harm, usually at the hands of gangs.
Angelina N. reportedly fled in 2014, when she was 20, to escape the abuse of Jaime M., the father of her 4-year-old daughter, and Mateo O., a male gang member who repeatedly harassed her. U.S. authorities apprehended her at the border trying to enter the U.S. and deported her the same year, according to the report.
When she returned to El Salvador in October 2014, she was raped at gunpoint, she told Human Rights Watch.
The group is calling on the Trump administration to repeal the migration protection protocols, the two asylum bans and the asylum cooperation agreements. Additionally, it’s calling on the attorney general to reverse a decision restricting gender-based, gang-related and family-based grounds for asylum.
A spokesperson for the White House was not immediately available for comment.
The group also called on Congress to take action, including refraining from providing additional funding to the Department of Homeland Security for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement until family separation and other “abusive policies” are ended.
In 2017, the group called President Trump a threat to human rights just ahead of his inauguration.
“Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign fomenting hatred and intolerance, and the rising influence of political parties in Europe that reject universal rights, have put the postwar human rights system at risk,” the group said at the time.