- The US reportedly expelled more than 200 unaccompanied migrant children to Mexico in the past 8 months, The New York Times reported.
- The expulsions violate a diplomatic agreement between the US and Mexico.
- The agreement says Mexico would only take unaccompanied minors who are Mexican.
- Migrants from other places would have to be flown back to their original country.
Several Central Americans said they were surprised to learn their migrant relatives who were supposed to make it to the US were instead expelled to Mexico, The New York Times reported.
The report comes a few days after The Times initially reported that migrant children from other countries have been expelled alone to Mexico by US border agents despite an agreement between the United States and Mexico to only send Mexican children or those who were accompanied by adults.
Eva Acuña, a legal US resident, was expecting a call from immigration authorities on the status of her teenage sister, Esther, on August 15, The Times reported. Acuña spoke to Esther an hour before she crossed the border into the US, but eight hours later, she received a call from Mexican authorities that her sister was sent back to Mexico, the newspaper said.
Esther is now back in the US, being housed at a children’s shelter in Arizona as of late October, The Times reported.
The Times reported that the revelation came from an email sent by a senior Border Patrol official.
“Recently, we have identified several suspected instances where Single Minors (SM) from countries other than Mexico have been expelled via ports of entry rather than referred to ICE Air Operations for expulsion flights,” Border Patrol’s assistant chief, Eduardo Sanchez wrote in an email.
It’s not clear how many kids from countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador could have been expelled during the past eight months and ended up in a country where they had no contacts and were without a guardian.
The Times reported that both Mexican and US authorities refused to provide that data.
Mexico and the US had a diplomatic agreement in light of President Donald Trump’s strict border policy that they would help implement the order but did not agree to have unaccompanied children from other countries be expelled to Mexico.
Under this agreement, children from other countries are supposed to be put on Immigration and Customs Enforcement flights back to their original countries.
The Times reported that Brian Hastings, chief of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector, acknowledged that migrant children from other countries were being sent to Mexico. Additionally, Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection agency acknowledged to The Times that sending minors over to Mexico even if they are not from the country violates the diplomatic agreement.
In another incident, a woman from Honduras named Paola who was staying at a Mexican shelter with her 5-year-old son decided to send him to the US to stay with relatives since he’d already missed a year of school. Paola told The Times that on September 5 she saw US agents take him into the port of entry, but five hours later she saw a Mexican government van drive past her with her son in it.
Trump has claimed the ban is an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A 17-year-old who was expelled to Mexico after trying to cross the US border on July 14 recounted to The Times that a border agent told him he would have had better luck entering the country before the pandemic.
Last month, court documents revealed the US expelled around 8,800 unaccompanied migrant children from the US under the coronavirus-related border ban.
In another court filing earlier this month, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union said they had been unable to find the parents of 545 migrant children the Trump administration separated at the border.
Source: Business Insider
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