According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, more than 200 immigrants who have been deported from the United States and sent back to El Salvador have been killed or suffered serious abuses, such as sexual assault and torture.
The report investigated deaths and instances of abuse in El Salvador between 2013 and 2019 and found that 138 deported immigrants were killed and more than 70 others were beaten, sexually assaulted, extorted, or tortured during that time period.
The country of El Salvador has been dealing with a major human rights crisis that has driven people to flee and embark on the dangerous journey through Central America to the United States where they can petition for asylum. However, the new Human Rights Watch report reveals not only the extreme levels of violence in the country, but also how the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict legal immigration have severely impacted the very people asylum is intended to assist.
Speaking about the staggering numbers in the report, co-author Alison Leal Parker said, “This has been a brick-by-brick erection of a legal wall by the Trump administration in an attempt to effectively end asylum in the U.S. Salvadorans are by no means the only nationality, but they are one of the populations that will suffer greatly from this.”
The number of asylum applications among El Salvadorians increased from about 5,600 to over 60,000 from 2012 to 2017. Despite the increased numbers and the fact that the country has “one of the highest murder rates in the world and very high rates of sexual violence and disappearances," the Trump administration continues to send vulnerable individuals back to this dangerous part of the world.
Another interesting finding from the report was that longtime U.S. residents who return to El Salvador are at high risk of suffering harm. Parker suggests this likely indicates that this particular type of deportee sticks out in El Salvador, making them easy targets for gangs and human traffickers.
As Trump and his officials continue their efforts to end vital immigration programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans may end up being deported from the U.S.