Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is now attacking the American continent with greater force, the United States government has deported more than 900 migrant children and adolescents via fast track, without informing their families or the social workers who care for them in immigration detention centers, nor give them the opportunity to request asylum in the face of the violence that awaits them in their countries of origin.
A report by the American newspaper The New York Times indicates that this represents a 180 degree turn in the policy that has been followed in recent weeks on the border with Mexico, where, with everything and the tightening of anti-immigrant laws by the government From Donald Trump, for decades the safeguard granted to migrant children by the Democratic and Republican administrations had prevailed.
Young people who came irregularly to the United States received refuge, education, and medical attention while awaiting an administrative process to remain in the country. If they were deported, they were “guaranteed a safe place to return to” in their home countries, the Times said yesterday.
However, the latest Trump border decrees have been pushed to the extreme under the guise of the coronavirus pandemic to deport migrant minors even within hours of being on U.S. soil.
In the worst case, the US newspaper reported, “they have been taken out of their beds in the middle of the night in US government shelters and put on planes to be taken out of the country without any notification to their families.”
According to the New York Times, the Trump government justified this practice by a 1944 law that gives the American president extraordinary powers to prevent the arrival of foreigners in the face of the “serious threat” of a “dangerous disease”.
This has been used by immigration authorities in recent weeks to quickly expel children and adolescents when the immigration rules stemming from the pandemic came into force in March.
Last Tuesday, the U.S. government again extended non-essential travel restrictions across the land borders with Mexico and Canada for a month, put in place in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the measure, which expired yesterday, will run until June 22 and will be reviewed in 30 days.
In this context, between March and April, 915 minors were expelled shortly after reaching the border, and 60 were deported from other states in the interior, including some who had pending trials in the immigration system.
The New York Times claims that several of them were transferred to Central American countries and others to Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection declined to respond to what legal rules are being applied for deportations, arguing that such information can be used by smugglers of illegal immigrants to circumvent the laws.
In Mexico, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Institute of Migration refused to comment on El Sol de México on the matter and did not inform which states of the republic the minors could be sent to.
The restrictions established by the United States and Mexico at the common border do not prevent the commercial transit of food, fuel, medical care equipment, and medicines. Nor has it impeded the flow of legal workers from Mexico to the neighboring country, who continue to be in high demand by US companies.