Mexico Deports Most of Its Detained Migrant Population

Of note, reflecting in part the effect of the Trump administration cutting off Central American access to the American asylum system:

On Sunday, Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) announced the repatriation of 3,653 Central American migrants. The measure comes after growing concern over Covid-19 spreading in INM detention facilities throughout Mexico.

Mexico recently has faced issues attempting to deport Central American citizens back to their home countries. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador closed their borders to citizens and aliens.

The INM said: “In the face of the health emergency caused by Covid-19, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Institute of Migration (INM), acts responsibly and safeguards the integrity of the population in the context of migration by seeking to fully guarantee their human rights.”

Guatemalan nationals were sent back by bus and Honduran and Salvadoran migrants were transported by aircraft to their countries of origin. The International Organization for Migrants administered the flight arrangements to Central America.

In March, the INM had 3,579 foreign nationals housed throughout its 65 detention facilities and shelters. As of Sunday, the number had decreased to 106 migrants — a 97 percent reduction in the detained migrant population.

The remaining aliens gave their consent to stay in Mexican custody. Religious organizations have assisted with shelter accommodations for migrants choosing to stay in Mexico.

The United Nations, the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico, and dozens of other activist organizations supported the mass release of foreign nationals from INM custody.

Additionally, the INM expressed its support of Mexican nationals being repatriated from the United States to prevent the spread of Covid-19 amongst their countrymen.

And Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations announced that it had been able to repatriate more than 129 Mexican people from Honduras and 30 from El Salvador.

Source: Mexico Deports Most of Its Detained Migrant Population

Reintegration of deportees: The challenge of a Guyanese immigration experience

A receiving country perspective:

What to do about the immigrants who are sent back to their respective home countries due to judicial violations is a new, potentially contentious issue and untenable proposition. There has been an increase in the number of deportees, most from the USA and Canada to the Caribbean over the past few years. In essence, deportees are immigrants who are exiled from their adopted home; some for clear violation of sundry laws, some very serious, while others may be victims of immigration policies that are arbitrarily applied, particularly if the accused is not adequately represented legally to assist with due process. Among the typical reasons for deportation are: overstay, illegal entry and illegal re-entry. These immigrants are subject to the realities of a forced re-migratory experience. Furthermore, their deportation is speciously viewed by observers including locals, as emblematic of failure in the diaspora. The latter perception tends to obliterate any meaningful past achievements of these individuals and exhibits a  lack of understanding of the hardships experienced by some families in the diaspora. For some deportees, their actions that lead to deportation may have been the failure of acculturation into the host society, especially in school. Consequently, they become vulnerable to influences that can be attributed to financial and social constraints encountered in many instances by the structural difficulties facing single parents.

There is a need for deportees to be re-socialized into the local home community, particularly the nations’ cultural value system, customs and practices. Others need to be introduced to a social environment they may hardly know, particularly if they left the home country as children. They also often return to countries where the unemployment rate is relatively high and with no organized system to help them readjust to their new home. In some cases, even their own family members refuse to acknowledge and support them or are financially unable to do so. Some deportees reportedly have been exploited for political purposes. In such instances opposition groups will denigrate ‘deportees’ and attribute nefarious acts to them for political gain.

Furthermore, the seeming lack of concern by the government about their welfare leads to the feelings by the populace that these persons are unwanted and are a ‘problem’ to society. Unfortunately, deportees, particularly males, tend to be labelled a deviant group, regardless of the nature of the violation that led to their deportation, and they are often accused of being responsible for the increase in the home country societal crime. There is also a tendency to stereotype deportees as having certain perceived negative attributes. In some cases they are blacklisted by public officials, both in the host country and country of origin. However, they do not fit any one profile in terms of occupation, ethnicity, gender or reason for being deported.  Many who have been detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and subject to deportation are non-violent offenders.

The number of deportations to the Caribbean has increased under the last two United States government administrations. Notably, figures from the 2017 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removals Operations Report for the Caribbean region are quite revealing: Guyana 142; Jamaicans 782; Trinidad and Tobagonians 128; Haitians 5, 578. These numbers are likely to increase with continued draconian US immigration laws. What appears to be unrelenting deportations to the Caribbean has continued under the current US government administration.

When immigrants are uprooted and sent back to their country of origin, not only is family life disrupted, but children in particular, whose parents are deported face social dislocation and mental health consequences. As observed by several researchers, this is true for those who remain in the U.S. separated from deported relatives, as well as those who leave the country in order to preserve the family’s unity. The increase in deportation and suppression of family reunification because of changed policy are traumatizing for immigrant families, causing fear, anxiety, vulnerability and victimization. The social and emotional costs could be devastating.

In the throes of significant economic and social transformation, vulnerable groups such as the homeless, mentally ill, elderly and increasingly deportees, are likely not to be adequately nor proportionately represented. Advocacy measures for the deportees must be sustained. Owing to the growing magnitude and novelty of dealing with this population, there should be a reintegration programme. Effectively planning for their reintegration is not only strongly recommended but should be based on knowledge of this phenomenon, from both a human development and socio-economic perspective. Understanding the social, political and psychological dynamics of the process of deportation and resettlement is essential for their adjustment. This includes unambiguous policy, an effective programme and capacity to deal with any residual tensions that may emerge between the local population and deportees.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Citizenship, and Social Protection should have a profile of these individuals that includes information not only about who they are and the reason(s) for deportation, but also on family contacts in the diaspora and home country, accomplishments and skills acquired both at home and while overseas.

The role of Diaspora Voluntary Organizations

Apart from the reputation of  “giving back” by sending remittances, a growing number of diasporans have expressed concern about the fate of deportees and other underserved groups. Deportee reintegration programmes in other Caribbean nations have been implemented by diaspora organizations. The Family Unification and Resettlement Initiative (FURI) is a New York-based Jamaican Diaspora Organization. Working with the government and funded by donor agencies including the National Organization of Deported Migrants (NODM), the British High Commission, and public tax deductible contributions, this organization has instituted a programme to address the problem of deportee reintegration. FURI’s objective is to offer alternatives that “foster faith, hope and confidence that life can be worthwhile”. The organization aims to decrease the stigma and assist in the reintegration of deported persons by collaborating with other service agencies and help them adjust to the new home environment. Founding member Carmen Albarus-Lindo suggests that it is important to help “displaced persons adjust positively to deportation….and the important role they can have on development and improve their own lives.” Since many deportees do not have close relatives in the home country, FURI initially arranged accommodation to assist them in the early stages of their return. Sustained financial and other needed help, including the provision of and for commercial farming with the use of greenhouse technology are provided. The components of the programme are: Accommodation/Shelter referrals; Employment/Vocational counseling training referrals; Drug/Alcohol abuse rehab referrals; Health care Referrals; and Counseling; Reconnecting with families; Help in obtaining National Identification and other important documents.

Guyana and other Caribbean countries could benefit by replicating such a programme, which should be viewed as an investment. Assessment for rehabilitation services should also be a part of such a programme. Some deportees can be considered for the same rehabilitation programmes expected for persons who violate the laws in their home countries and after a period of incarceration can expect to be reintegrated into society. A well-structured reintegration programme and educating the public will help mitigate the concerns of civil society about deportees. It is imperative for deportees to be reintegrated into society since the overt or covert expressed desires of ‘local’ persons that they should again emigrate, albeit ‘illegally’ is wishful thinking and should be discouraged. This is rendered moot since there is normally an immigration stipulation barring possible return to the host country for a specified number of years (USA -10 years for each deportation order).

In light of the anticipated wealth elevation in Guyana, (1) Will there be the provision of needed resources for an effective reintegration programme? (2) Would this be considered as part of the promise of “maximum benefit” to all Guyanese, as well as the pledge of “social protection and other social services?”  How Caribbean governments respond to this problem will determine their legacy in the realm of humanitarian response to birthright citizenship.

Source: Reintegration of deportees: The challenge of a Guyanese immigration experience

Deportation flight leaves UK for Jamaica despite court ruling

More questionable UK government practice:

A planned deportation flight to Jamaica has taken off but with only around half of those due to have been on board after a court last night upheld a legal challenge.

As the government came under fire for proceeding with the flight, it was defended on Tuesday by the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, who said those onboard were not members of the Windrush generation but offenders who posed a risk to the public.

“These are all foreign national offenders – they have all received custodial sentences of 12 months or more. They are responsible for crimes like manslaughter, rape, dealing in class A drugs,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Asked how many people were onboard, he said he did not know the exact number but believed it was “around 20 – or above 20.” Around 56 people were originally thought to have been due to be deported.

Dozens More Cambodian Immigrants to Be Deported From U.S., Officials Say

Sigh….

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Trump administration is preparing to deport the largest group yet of legal Cambodian immigrants to the United States over the next few days, according to human rights groups and an American official, continuing a wave of deportation that has fallen heavily on refugees who fled the upheaval surrounding the Vietnam War.

The new deportations include an expected 46 people who are scheduled to arrive in Cambodia on Dec. 19, the American official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of deportations that had not been officially announced.

Many of those being deported have few or no memories of Cambodia, as they were part of an exodus fleeing Khmer Rouge massacres and were granted refugee status in the United States. Some actually have green cards and have been convicted of a felony while in the United States, though often from many years ago.

“We are expecting more than 40 later this month,” Bill Herod, the founder of the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, a Phnom Penh-based group that works to integrate Cambodian deportees into the country, said in an interview. Mr. Herod said that the exact number and arrival date of deportees often changes due to variables including last-minute legal challenges and weather complications.

Reached for comment, the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh referred The Times to the Department of Homeland Security, whose officials did not respond to requests for comment. The Cambodian government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

President Trump has continued to place harsh limits on immigration and asylum at the center of his national policy, and over the past year, the White House has pushed to greatly expand the number of foreign residents of the United States who are eligible for deportation.

That effort has included what American officials describe as a renewed push by the White House this month to negotiate with Vietnam to take back a category of refugees in the United States — those who immigrated before 1995 — who had been considered protected under an earlier agreement.

In the case of Cambodians living in the United States, some deportations began in 2002 under a bilateral agreement signed by both countries. But the Trump White House has greatly stepped up the process, widening the numbers of Cambodians it considers deportable.

Rights groups have criticized the new deportation push because many of those designated for deportation will be separated from families who remain in the United States. Others are the children of Cambodians who fled torture and massacre by the Khmer Rouge regime and are being returned to a developing country in which they have never lived or of which they have little memory.

During the Vietnam War, the United States secretly bombarded Cambodia and dropped 2.7 million tons of explosives on the country in operations that some credit with partially enabling the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power.

“Virtually all are the children of Khmer Rouge refugees,” Mr. Herod said of those being deported from the United States. “Virtually all have a difficult time adjusting.”

Cambodia’s government began resisting the push for more deportations in 2017, citing human rights concerns and expressing an interest in negotiating a new agreement.

The Trump administration responded by classifying Cambodia as “recalcitrant” and imposing visa sanctions on some high-ranking government officials and their families. The American and Cambodian governments reached an agreement to resume deportations in February, and Cambodia has since accepted its nationals in increased numbers.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, Brendan Raedy, declined to confirm the new deportations set for Dec. 19, citing security concerns. He did, however, say that as of Sept. 17, “there were 56 Cambodian nationals in I.C.E. detention with a final order of removal, and 1,799 non-detained Cambodians with a final order of removal.”

Mr. Herod, of the Khmer Vulnerability Aid Organization, said that American officials alerted him in December 2017 “to prepare to receive 200 new arrivals each year for the next several years.”

Only 74 and 29 Cambodians were deported in 2016 and 2017, respectively, according to I.C.E. reports. Mr. Herod said he was aware of 94 Cambodians who had already been deported this year.

Canadian border agency has deported 398 ‘illegal migrants’ out of 32,000

The latest numbers:

Nearly 400 people who crossed the U.S. border illegally for asylum in Canada have been deported since authorities began tracking irregular migration in April of last year.

That number is a small fraction of the 32,173 so-called “irregular migrants” who came through unguarded land borders from the United States during the period ending in late August. Most are still waiting for their asylum claims to be heard.

Of the 398 failed refugee claimants Canada has deported, 146 were sent back to the U.S., where 116 of them have citizenship, according to data provided to the Star by the Canada Border Services Agency. The rest were deported to 53 countries, with most sent to Haiti (53), Colombia (24), Turkey (19) or Iraq (15).

The deportees, 48 of whom were under the age of 17, included 238 males and 160 females, said the border enforcement agency.

“What happens is people come to the U.S., establish themselves and have children while they try to regularize their immigration status,” said Ottawa immigration lawyer Betsy Kane.

“The number of deportees captures these American-born children who accompanied their parents to Canada for asylum.”

The Canadian border agency said the decision on where an individual is deported depends on from where they came into Canada, their last permanent residence, their citizenship and country of birth. All deportees have seen their asylum claims rejected by the refugee board and exhausted all legal avenues of appeal and due process.

All 32,173 irregular migrants have been declared inadmissable simply for crossing the Canadian border illegally, including six who failed the criminal checks, said border agency spokesperson Nicholas Dorion.

Queen’s University immigration law professor Sharry Aiken said she was not surprised by the low number of deportations as the majority of asylum claims by border-crossers are still to be determined by the refugee board. That board has long been underfunded and only recently got the money from Ottawa to hire additional decision-makers.

Of the 12,190 overall claims processed in the first six months of this year, 64 per cent were granted asylum.

“When removal orders become effective and are not enforced, it undermines the integrity of the system and the confidence in the system,” said Aiken. “But due process does take time with other legal remedies when a claim is refused. We shouldn’t say something must have gone awry because only 400 people have been removed.”

The latest refugee board statistics show it still had 55,567 new claims in the backlog by the end of June after 13,687 had been processed and finalized — 7,831 claims being accepted, 4,359 rejected, and the rest either abandoned or withdrawn. The backlog includes claimants from other countries who didn’t come through unguarded land borders via the U.S.

Source: Canadian border agency has deported 398 ‘illegal migrants’ out of 32,000

Canada deports hundreds to China each year with no treatment guarantee

The large number of deportations to China reflects in part the large number of immigrants from China: 1,386 deportations compared to over 78,000 immigrants, or 1.8 percent (2013-15).

However, this is more than other large source countries like the Philippines and India. Given lack of due process in Chinese courts, this concern is not misplaced with respect to corruption cases:

The Canadian government is deporting hundreds of people to China each year without receiving any assurances that they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated, statistics provided to The Globe and Mail reveal.

Canada and China do not have a formal extradition treaty, and the Trudeau government has signalled that it may not complete such a deal out of concern about abuses in the Chinese justice system.

The lack of such a deal has not, however, stopped Canada from sending people back to China. The Canada Border Services Agency has used deportation, expelling 1,386 people to China over the past three years, according to agency statistics.

It’s a process that lawyers, academics and former diplomats say offers too few protections against the mistreatment deportees might endure.

It also places Canada at risk of using evidence rooted in coerced confessions as Canadian authorities make decisions on ejecting people, particularly those sought by Beijing as part of its sweeping global Skynet operation to chase people it calls corrupt fugitives.

When people are returned to a country such as China, “there’s a need for very significant and enforceable assurances about the treatment they will receive and monitoring on the part of Canada – which Canada has not done,” said Sharryn Aiken, an expert on immigration and refugee law at Queen’s University.

“And in the absence of monitoring, people die in jail.”

The United Nations Committee against Torture has said that in China “the practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the criminal-justice system.”

Canada’s own foreign service recently signed its name to a letter saying there are “credible claims of torture” against people under interrogation in China.

Before deporting someone, Canadian immigration officials can conduct what is called a “preremoval risk assessment,” designed to evaluate whether a person is in danger of mistreatment upon return. “Due diligence is important before undertaking any removal measures,” said Nicholas Dorion, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency. That assessment is “in place to ensure that a person will not be removed to a country where they could face death or torture.”

But risk assessments are done entirely in Canada and do not include demands that China guarantee it will abide by certain standards of conduct, or allow Canada to monitor deportees.

“Many of us don’t feel it’s really an effective safeguard,” said Vancouver immigration lawyer Douglas Cannon. “Especially in the case of people who are being sent back to face prosecution in China.”

The potential for problems is serious enough that David Mulroney, the former Canadian ambassador to China, says Ottawa should refuse to co-operate with Beijing on most corruption cases, limiting joint law-enforcement work to public-safety cases involving people accused of murder or drug offences.

When China demands the return of people it calls corrupt, it is asking Canada “to send people back into a very murky and worrisome Chinese system,” he said. “You have to be very sure that you are not on the Canadian side enabling the Chinese to unfairly prosecute someone.”

Using Interpol

Ottawa does have the ability to demand assurances from countries such as China, as it did in the high-profile deportation of notorious smuggler Lai Changxing in 2011. Beijing pledged not to torture or execute the man it then considered its number one most-wanted. China also promised Canada extraordinary rights to monitor his treatment. Mr. Lai’s case, however, was a notable exception.

Canada maintains lists of countries to which deportations are either permanently or temporarily blocked, although it has exceptions for criminals and people deemed to be a security risk. Canada deported 6,964 people in 2016. Of those, 382 were sent to China, just more than 5 per cent of the total, CBSA statistics show. In recent years, Chinese citizens have been the fourth-most regularly deported from Canada, behind citizens of Hungary, the United States and Mexico.

Source: Canada deports hundreds to China each year with no treatment guarantee – The Globe and Mail

The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out

Underlying logic undermined by blind application to those who have spent most of their life in Canada, where their criminality developed:

The 2013 legislation means any permanent resident sentenced to six months or more can be deported with fewer avenues of appeal. The old threshold was a two-year court sentence and more chances to appeal.

CBSA statistics show that the new rules have had the intended effect.

The total number of criminals deported from the Pacific region in 2011, 2o12 and 2013 was 174. Over the subsequent three years,  276 people were deported from the region for their criminal history.

Some have been high-profile gangsters like Barzan Tilli-Choli, of the United Nations gang, who was sent back to Iraq in January after serving almost eight years for plotting to kill the Bacon brothers. He came to B.C. as a teen in 1999.

Others, like Van Heest, suffer from serious mental health issues that contributed to their criminality.

Many of those affected have been in Canada since early childhood, but their caregivers never obtained citizenship for them.

Somebody dropped the ball, whether it was the parent or the state if they ended up being a ward,” Golden said.

In Van Heest’s case, his family thought he was automatically a Canadian.

“By the time he was an adult and could have (applied for citizenship), he couldn’t because he had the (criminal) record and he was also dealing with a mental illness that was untreated,” Golden said.

Critics say the new rules are unforgiving and don’t look at the individual circumstances of those ordered out of Canada for criminality.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said she supported the legislation in 2013 and still supports it today. And she thinks the majority of Canadians do, too.

“The primary responsibility of legislators is to keep the Canadian population safe, so that’s really … why we made these changes in 2013,” she said.

Focusing on any specific case, including Van Heest’s, is the wrong approach, Rempel said.

“Where I think we go off the rails is when we look at one case in a vacuum, or talk about taking away the personal responsibility component from criminal actions.”

CBSA communications officer Kristine Wu said the agency places “the highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime, crimes against humanity and criminals.”

“Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law,” she said. “Our position is clear: Once all avenues of recourse are exhausted, the person must leave Canada or be removed.”

One of those the CBSA is currently trying to deport is long-time Kelowna resident David Roger Revell, a former Hells Angel associate convicted in 2008 of conspiracy to traffic cocaine after a massive RCMP undercover operation targeting the biker gang. He was sentenced to five years.

Then in 2013, he pleaded guilty to two assault charges in a domestic violence case involving a former girlfriend and was sentenced to two years probation.

Revell, a father and grandfather who now works in Alberta, was born in England and was brought to Canada as a 10-year-old in 1974. Like Van Heest, he never got Canadian citizenship. Unlike Van Heest, his convictions are unrelated to mental illness.

Revell argued to the Immigration and Refugee Board last year that he never would have pleaded guilty in the assault case if he had known it would lead the CBSA to renew a review of his admissibility that had been on hold after the 2008 conviction.

“According to Mr. Revell, he pled guilty to simply put an end to proceedings that were requiring him to travel back and forth from Fort McMurray to Kelowna,” Immigration and Refugee Board member Marc Tessler noted in a July 2016 ruling. “According to Mr. Revell, if he had received a warning letter, he would never have pled guilty.”

Tessler agreed with Revell’s evidence that his deportation to England would have a “profound” impact on him.

“He has lived in Canada for 42 years and has only known Canada as home,” Tessler said.

But Tessler rejected Revell’s claims that his Charter rights had been violated and ordered him deported.

Revell has now asked the Federal Court to review Tessler’s decision. A hearing is set in Vancouver for May.

Revell’s lawyer Lorne Waldman said he plans to again argue that his client’s Charter rights would be violated by his deportation and that “Canadian jurisprudence should begin to acknowledge that it is just unacceptable to remove someone from the only country he’s ever really known.”

“The issue now that is coming before the court is: Are there circumstances in which it might be a violation of a person’s right to life, liberty and security of person to send that person away from a place where he has lived most of his life?”

Waldman, who is based in Toronto, said he has been inundated with calls from people living in Canada for decades who now find themselves in a similar situation to Revell and Van Heest.

“What they’ve done is they have significantly increased the number of long-term permanent residents that are being deported because the threshold now is so low,” he said. “It has had a fairly dramatic impact and that’s why we are seeing such a large number of cases now moving forward.”

Source: The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out | Vancouver Sun