October 30, 2020

Over 200 children from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have been forced into Mexico after trying to cross into the U.S. in the last eight months, according to the New York Times, where they were placed with welfare authorities and into shelters operated by religious groups and private organizations.

According to U.S. policy and an agreement with the Mexican government, only Mexican children and children with adult supervision can be pushed back into Mexico after trying to cross the border, the report saidothers are supposed to be flown back to their home countries by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Trump administration in March began turning migrants and asylum seekers who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally instead of moving them into detention centers, a policy the administration had sought in the past that was blocked by federal courts, saying the policy change was necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  

An email from U.S. Border Patrol’s assistant chief, Eduardo Sanchez, obtained by the Times, confirmed that unaccompanied children had been sent back into Mexico instead of being flown to their home countries, and acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency Mark Morgan acknowledged that expelling unaccompanied non-Mexican children to Mexico was against U.S. policy.

Source: Forbes, “Migrant Children Sent To Mexico Alone, Against U.S. Policy”, October 2020. <https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielcassady/2020/10/30/migrant-children-sent-to-mexico-alone-against-us-policy/?sh=f863eb43b645>

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): ICE

Event Type(s): Inappropriate Deportation

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG