Update on dangerous deportations

Recently thousands of people from throughout the US put Janet Napolitano on notice that concerned residents will continue to try to transform the Department of Homeland Security’s practices of dangerous deportations including deportations into cartel strongholds. We at No More Deaths continue to monitor deportation practices and are attempting to support individuals who contact us with stories of abuse and threats.

We will continue to keep you updated on shifting deportation practices so that you may join us in calling for an end to practices which continue to put the lives, rights and well-being of migrants at risk.

Due to the ongoing violence perpetrated against recently repatriated Mexican nationals, No More Deaths has received multiple letters from men held in the Torrance County Detention Facility fearing deportation through Texas. Thanks to thousands of individuals and organizations throughout the US we called on the Department of Homeland Security to take these fears seriously and change their dangerous deportation practices. While we were not able to positively impact the fate of these 21 men, we are continuing to call on the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security to recognize their complacency in the drug violence and to change their practices and categories of relief for immigrants in the US.

As you know, No More Deaths has worked throughout the Arizona–Sonora border region since 2004. We have seen numerous shifts in Border Patrol and U.S. practices over these last seven years, most notably an extensive criminalization of migration, as well as an extension of dangerous deterrence strategies such as lateral repatriation. Over the years we have watched the economic displacement of many of our neighbors throughout the Americas, while an enforcement-only approach to managing migration has increased the risk that migrants face and the power of the smuggling cartels.

Cartel violence is real and intensifying—but its primary victims are not U.S. citizens. They are the migrants and civilians whose rights and lives are all too frequently disregarded by authorities on both sides of the border. Federal immigration authorities in Mexico have been known to turn migrants directly over to cartels, after which they are tortured, extorted, and massacred by their kidnappers. In the United States, federal authorities are more interested in criminalizing and incarcerating migrants than investigating or offering protection to victims of crimes that take place on U.S. soil. Trapped between are thousands of people who have no other option for returning to their homes and loved ones than to put themselves at the mercy of organized smuggling gangs.

A forthcoming No More Deaths abuse report demonstrates a widespread culture of impunity within the Border Patrol itself. This culture of impunity, on both sides of the international boundary, has rendered border communities vulnerable to systemic violations of civil and human rights. With your continued support we will continue to raise awareness of the daily realities of life along the border and to work toward building a more just society.

With your help, we will continue to work to change dangerous enforcement, detention and deportation practices. There is a long road ahead, one we hope you will join us on.