Central American migrants en route to the United States. (Image: Peter Haden, CC BY 2.0)
Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Today in Latin America

Some Migrants Deported to Central America Killed on Arrival, Investigation Finds

October 13, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — Undocumented immigrants recently deported by the United States face threats of violence upon their return to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to a new investigation by The Guardian, which highlighted three specific instances of deportees who were shot and killed shortly after returning home.

An upcoming academic study, based on an analysis of media reports, reportedly counted at least 83 cases of deportees killed upon returning, a number the New York Times noted is likely much higher.

These findings come in the wake of last year’s so-called “unaccompanied minors crisis,” during which an unprecedented number of migrants crossed Mexico’s border into the United States, fleeing high rates of violence, gang activity and delinquency in Central America.

Scrambling for options, the United States has implemented an expedited hearing process in order to fast-track deportations, which human rights experts say has placed many migrants in harms’ way.

Many of the deported migrants share a story similar to Angel Díaz, whose case was examined by The Guardian. Díaz fled Honduras with his brothers after one of them was attacked by gang members. Díaz was later deported from the United States, and a month later shot and killed by suspected gang members, confirming the fear that motivated his father to send him away in the first place.

U.S. President Barack Obama has sent tens of millions of dollars to Mexico so the country can crack down on immigration from Central America, according to the New York Times, essentially outsourcing a U.S. refugee problem to a country with security challenges of its own. Mexico’s crackdown has effectively made it a buffer nation, forcing many migrants back to Central American cities with some of the highest homicide rates in the world.

In her upcoming report on the killings of returned migrants, social scientist Elizabeth Kennedy writes that such figures indicate the United States “is returning people to their deaths in violation of national and international law.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Family members of the 43 teacher-trainee students who were abducted in the town of Iguala last year were not informed that the government would be releasing its much-criticised investigation in its entirety on Sunday, according to relatives who spoke to BuzzFeed News.
  • Mexican authorities made over 50,000 requests for information on private citizens’ personal telecommunications data last year, a 25 percent jump from 2013 in a country where such requests are subject to less court scrutiny than in places like the United States or Brazil.
  • Thousands of teachers across four Mexican states began a 24-hour strike on Monday, cancelling classes, blocking major roads and taking over businesses to protest the education reform enacted by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013 and calling for talks over their grievances.


  • In an effort to be inclusive of LGBTQ students, Puerto Rico has relaxed rules on public school uniforms, allowing students of any gender to wear skirts or pants.
  • An American missionary in Haiti was shot and killed in Port-au-Prince by gunmen who also abducted the 4-year-old child in the car with her.

Central America

  • A Guatemalan mayor was burnt alive on Sunday by a group of vigilantes who believed him responsible for an attack on a political rival that left two women dead and five others injured.
  • Honduras’ eighth-largest bank will face forced liquidation procedures following a U.S. money laundering investigation into the wealthy owner and his family.


  • Scotland Yard remove the police officers guarding London’s Ecuadorian Embassy Monday, where they have been stationed nonstop since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrived there seeking political asylum in June 2012.
  • Venezuela’s oil minister on Monday said the government will announce ambitious plans this month to bring the global price of oil up to $70 per barrel and later $100, which would involve coordinating cuts in production by both the OPEC and other oil-producing nations for the first time in more than a decade.

Southern Cone

  • Some 5,000 people protested in Santiago Monday in support of the indigenous Mapuche people, calling for the “demilitarization” of the southern Araucania region where the authorities and Mapuche activists have sporadically engaged in deadly clashes.
  • Many members of Brazil’s new middle class have sharply cut their spending amid the country’s worst recession in almost three decades, following a boom that brought millions out of poverty.
  • Chile on Tuesday will mark five years since 33 miners were rescued after 69 days underground, an ordeal being adapted into a film starring Antonio Banderas which the struggling survivors hope will improve their economic fortunes.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *