Monday, December 28, 2020

Coronavirus + Detention = Voluntary Deportation

WaPo has a fascinating new article about detained migrants who are voluntarily abandoning their claims and embracing deportation in order to escape coronavirus as it spreads through detention facilities. Here are two key paragraphs:

The virus has collided with the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” approach toward people looking for refuge and asylum in the United States. Those policies have led to a record number of immigrants being held in detention, including 7,000 people who had cleared the first steps of requesting asylum when the pandemic began and would normally have been released on bond while their cases were processed.

Some immigrants have been withdrawing cases against their lawyers’ advice, saying they’re more afraid of being in detention during a coronavirus outbreak than of what might be waiting in the places they fled. More than 2,500 detainees, most with no serious criminal history, have given up their cases since March, according to records from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group at Syracuse University...

The article focuses on one migrant from Honduras who spent three years detained in Farmville, Va., despite establishing credible fear of persecution. His request to be deported was granted. He returned to Honduras, moved to Guatemala, and ultimately died in unclear circumstances.


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