U.S. Deporting Migrants with COVID-19


From the U.S. to Central America: Asylum, Deportations, and COVID-19
A webinar co-sponsored by School of the Americas Watch
Wednesday, June 10, 3:00 PM Pacific = 4:00 PM Mountain
Register here.

With COVID-19 spreading like wildfire through packed detention centers, the U.S. government is not only endangering the lives of detained migrants but also exporting COVID-19 to Latin America and the Caribbean through deportations. Instead of heeding the collective call to #FreeThemAll, the U.S. Government has repeatedly deported people with active cases of COVID-19 to their home countries, causing further spread of the pandemic. Latin American countries, several of which have long closed their borders and stopped accepting commercial flights in order to protect their populations from COVID-19, are forced to accept flights of deportees from the U.S., a number of whom have COVID-19. Guatemala alone has reported 119 people infected with COVID-19 on deportation flights from the U.S. 

Detained migrants have repeatedly denounced the terrible conditions in detention centers that cause COVID-19 to spread rapidly, putting their lives at risk.

In Central America, years of pressure from the IMF and U.S. to privatize everything have contributed to hollowed out public health systems with extremely limited supplies and extremely low numbers of ventilators and ICU beds. 

Guatemala has repeatedly asked the U.S. to stop deporting people with COVID-19 but the U.S. only temporarily halted deportation flights and then resumed them again. Even when the U.S. has claimed that those on deportation flights did not have COVID, it turned out that some of them did. In fact, at one point in Guatemala, 20% of those with COVID-19 were people who had been deported from the U.S.  The US has also deported people with COVID-19 to Haiti, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Mexico.  

SOAW condemns the ongoing detention of migrants – continuing to detain and deport will lead to more and more deaths, both in detention centers and in Latin America.  We invite you to join the call to #FreeThemAll! 

To learn more, we invite you to join this webinar that SOAW is co-sponsoring: From the U.S. to Central America: Asylum, Deportations, and COVID-19. This webinar will discuss deportations in the context of COVID-19 and the inhumane so-called safe third country agreements that give the U.S. the power to deport asylum-seekers to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador even if they are not from these countries.  This puts people in even more precarious conditions and violates international refugee law.  

For more background information on this issue, see:

Free them all
The Hill: U.S. Response a Failure of Foreign Policy
CBS News: Exporting the Virus to Guatemala

from School of the Americas Watch (to be 6/10/2020)