The U.S. government's harsh immigration policies can have deadly consequences for refugees and asylum seekers who are forcibly deported back to violent conditions in their countries of origin, a chilling investigation published Monday by the Guardian reveals.
For their exposé, journalists Sibylla Brodzinsky and Ed Pilkington confirmed three cases in which men were murdered soon after being deported by the U.S. government to their hometowns in Honduras.
One of these men was José Marvin Martínez, who was 16-years-old when he fled San Manuel a few months after his brother was shot and killed, reportedly by gang members. In May 2013, Martínez was apprehended in Laredo, Texas by U.S. border patrol and was forcibly deported in August 2014.
"On 14 December—four months after he was deported—Martínez, who was known locally as El Chele or 'Blondie,' was sitting outside a corner shop back in San Manuel when a gunman opened fire from a drive-by truck, killing him," according to the article.
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While their piece explored just three examples, the authors stated that their findings are "just the tip of the iceberg." The article references a soon-to-be released academic study which found that, since January 2014, up to 83 people deported by the U.S. have been killed after returning to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
"These figures tell us that the U.S. is returning people to their deaths in violation of national and international law," said Elizabeth Kennedy, the San Diego state university researcher behind the forthcoming study, in an interview with the Guardian. "Most of the individuals reported to have been murdered lived in some of the most violent towns in some of the most violent countries in the world—suggesting strongly that is why they fled."
The findings underscore growing concerns over the humanitarian implications of record-high deportations under the administration of President Barack Obama.