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Mexico: Mass Expulsion of Asylum Seekers to Guatemala

Mexico has been carrying out mass expulsion of migrants and asylum seekers of various nationalities to a remote area of the jungle in Guatemala, putting lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said today.

Those expelled include families and unaccompanied children, some of whom were first expelled by air from the United States. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and US President Joe Biden should immediately stop these dangerous and unlawful expulsions and ensure that future deportations are carried out in line with Mexican, US, and international law.

“Abandoning vulnerable families in the remote Guatemalan jungle without money, food, or shelter and ignoring their requests for asylum is a new low for President López Obrador,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “For years, the Mexican president has facilitated some of the United States’ most abusive anti-immigration policies. Now he has gone a step further, replicating those abusive policies on Mexico’s own southern border.”

In the beginning of August 2021, the United States began expelling some Central American migrants via air to two cities in southern Mexico – Tapachula, Chiapas, and Villahermosa, Tabasco – which are a relatively short drive away from the Guatemalan border.

“The Biden administration promised more humane and fair policies for asylum seekers at US borders,” said Clara Long, US associate director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the administration is expelling asylum seekers without giving them a chance to seek protection and is implicated in dangerous Mexican return practices. The Biden administration needs to change course now.”

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