Global Health Immigration

Deportations Continue, Threaten Other Countries’ Health Security Amid Crisis

The Trump administration has continued the deportation of detainees, despite the global pandemic. The Trump administration has been deporting thousands to their home country including many infected persons, despite the threat of COVID-19.

Specifically, in Guatemala dozens have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from the United States through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On Tuesday, the country’s health minister stated that the United States was responsible for driving up the country’s total cases, according to officials on one flight 50-75% of the deportees tested positive for COVID-19.

The president utilized executive authority to shut down the southwestern border claiming it was necessary to prevent migrants from bringing the virus. This move came after he allowed European travelers back into the country despite Europe having a much higher outbreak rate than southwestern countries. In addition to these restrictions, deportations of unaccompanied children and teens have increased steeply. Previously, these children were allowed to be moved to a refuge shelter and time to apply for asylum, now they are being sent back on flights with large numbers. Authorities from Guatemala have accused the United States of sending infected people back across its borders which is hard to refute considering deportations have increased and the United States has the most coronavirus cases globally.

The administration has also recklessly continued deportations to Honduras and El Salvador knowing that these countries would be devasted by the virus because of severe poverty and poor health systems. Migrant advocates and some Central American government officials have voiced their concerns emphasizes the area’s vulnerability to the pandemic.

Sources: The New York Times 4/18/20; Fox17 4/14/20

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