Deportation Can Be A Death Sentence

What many Americans don’t understand is that deportation can be a death sentence.

According to “When Deportation Is A Death Sentence,” 1/15/18, New Yorker, “Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the U.S. may face violence and murder in their home countries. ” What about “the U.S. government’s duty to protect prospective deportees who plead for their lives”?

“Before Laura crossed the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge into Mexico, she turned to the Border Patrol agent supervising her return to Mexico. “When I am found dead,” she told him, “it will be on your conscience.”” She was murdered.

On 3/6/18, our Tuesdays With Tillis protest is for a Clean DREAM Act and Justice For Immigrants. The facebook event can be found here. El Centro and El Pueblo organized the program. They give us some more stats on how deportation is a death sentence.

Defend DACA Protest from January 2018; Photo Credit: Jacalyn Engler

Deportation is a Death Sentence

  • Since 2013, 165 people have died in immigration detention centers
  • 10 died in ICE custody in 2016
  • 8 people died in ICE custody in 2017

Some deported people are killed soon after being forced to return. These cases provided for the Tuesdays With Tillis program.

  1. Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, 28 years old. Guanajuato, Mexico; June of 2017 — his wife warned the federal judge that he would be killed if he was deported. Three months later his body was found on the side of the road
  2. Marco Antonio Cortes, 18 years old. San Pedro Sula, Honduras. January of 2015 — the gunman waited for him as he boarded a bus. One pull of the trigger and he was dead.
  3. Philip Clay, 42 years old. South Korea; May of 2017 — was adopted by Americans at 8 years old but was never naturalized. Was deported; committed suicide by jumping from the 14th floor of an apartment building
  4. Wildrick Guerrier, 34 years old. Haiti; January 2011 — died less than 10 days after being deported from lack of medical care
  5. Ahfez Khan; Pakistan; March 2003 — married to a U.S. citizen, Ahfez had applied for permanent residency. But during a roundup of foreigners after 9/11 attacks Ahfez was deported. His wife had pleaded not to be deported because in his native country U.S. deportees were outcasts and victims of discrimination and violence. While in a cafe, two gunmen on motorcycles shot him twice in the head.
  6. Joao Herber; 26 years old. Brazil; May of 2004 — adopted by a U.S. couple when American citizenship for children adopted wasn’t automatic. After being deported he lived in poverty as an English teacher in Sao Paulo. Was shot six times by the police. They still don’t know what happened or why.
  7. Gredis Alexander Hernandez; 14 years old. Honduras 2015 — shot in the head twice in his bed 2 days after return (from Mexico)
  8. Giovanni Miranda; 32 years old. El Salvador; June 2016 — body found lying next to his newborn child. On June 27, two gang members walked through Miranda’s body shop, entered the bedroom he shared with his wife, Celia, and son, and shot him seven times.

Other deportees live in fear. This young man was deported as a teenager, after being jailed in the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, one of the harshest immigrant prisons in the country. Pedro Salmeron is now being hunted. Salmeron says, “The gangs are growing and cannot be tamed. They are completely out of control.” 

“When Pedro was detained, his case became part of the so-called NC6, six Central American youths living in North Carolina who were rounded up by ICE in January 2016.” Pedro had lived in Charlotte.

Read “Pedro Salmeron Was Deported From North Carolina in 2016. We Went to El Salvador to See What His Life’s Like Now,” Indy.Com, March 2018.

According to the New Yorker article, “No U.S. government body monitors the fate of deportees, and immigrant-aid groups typically lack the resources to document what happens to those who have been sent back. Fear of retribution keeps most grieving families from speaking publicly. In early 2016, as the director of the Global Migration Project, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, I set out, with a dozen graduate students, to create a record of people who had been deported to their deaths or to other harms—a sort of shadow database of the one that the Trump Administration later compiled to track the crimes of “alien offenders.” We contacted more than two hundred local legal-aid organizations, domestic-violence shelters, and immigrants’-rights groups nationwide, as well as migrant shelters, humanitarian operations, law offices, and mortuaries across Central America. We spoke to families of the deceased. And we gathered the stories of immigrants who had endured other harms—including kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault—as a result of deportations under Obama and Trump.”

Now the Trump administration is separating some children from their parents. According to “Gratuitous Cruelty By Homeland Security Separating a 7 year-old from her Mother,” Washington Post, 3/4/18, 

“The Trump administration has said that it is considering separating parents from their children as a means of deterring other families, most of them Central American, from undertaking the perilous trip necessary to reach the United States and seek asylum.”

“Now, without any formal announcement, that cruel practice, ruled out by previous administrations, has become increasingly common, immigrant advocacy groups say. In the nine months preceding February, government agents separated children from their parents 53 times, according to data compiled by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.”

Organizations and people continue to fight for fair treatment of immigrants, and want the US Government to consider need for asylum before forcing immigrants to return. We need a better and fairer system.

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