New York —
The president has suspended immigration processes because of the pandemic, but not the deportations that are spreading the virus
The government of the president Donald trump has been spreading the coronavirus to various countries through the deportation of immigrants that the Office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has continued to carry out during the pandemic, refer agencies and authorities of the affected nations.
As of March 12, when Trump declared the national emergency by accumulating the first 2,000 cases of COVID-19, the government began taking steps to try to stem the spread, from banning the arrival of international flights to closing borders and consulates, rejecting asylum seekers and stopping visa procedures at consulates and permanent residence at offices of immigration.
But what did not stop were the deportations.
In the first month of the contingency, ICE made more than 50 deportation flights to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. A good part of those thousands of returnees would have been infected.
Only in one of those flights that ICE carried out last April 23 to Guatemala, of the 76 that were on board 71 were infected. The government of that country has confirmed that in total 102 deportees from the United States have tested positive for the COVID-19.
Two months ago in Guatemala there was no case, as of May 12 it reached 1,114 infections and 26 deaths, according to the pandemic registry carried out by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Among the countries that have received deportees from the United States during those two months of the pandemic are Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, in almost all of them it has been detected that among the returnees there were some infected.
This week ICE had to halve the number of passengers it planned to send on a deportation flight to Haiti after the newspaper Miami Herald reported that at least 5 of them were carriers of the coronavirus and the authorities knew of it.
Of the 100 ICE was to deport on Monday, only 50 were sent to Haiti, the continent’s poorest country, which currently only has 111 beds available and 100 ventilators to care for coronavirus patients.
“Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti … are countries that have a very limited capacity for testing, surveillance, treatment and a limited supply of medical equipment such as ventilators,” said Sergio Martín, general coordinator in Mexico of Médicos Sin Fronteras. “A major COVID-19 outbreak could be catastrophic“