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August 19, 2014

Five Honduran Children Dead After Deportation

At least five Honduran children, recently deported by the United States, have been murdered since February. This sad fact underscores that many of the unaccompanied child immigrants and families have legitimate asylum claims, but the U.S. government is sending them back into danger without a giving them fair chance to plead their case.

The first step in an immigrant’s asylum plea is to determine “credible fear.” Since the political push to deport recent border crossers, the credible fear pass rate dropped from 83.1 percent to 62.7 percent. Those who do not pass are deported immediately without opportunity for appeal.

Many credible fear screenings are now taking place before a refugee has had any legal orientation or opportunity to seek counsel, which amounts to a violation of due process. And thanks to new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines, which de-emphasize that the credible fear screenings are meant only as initial assessments, some interviewers are treating them like full-blown asylum hearings.

The lives of children are literally on the line in these screenings, and the United States needs to live up to its human rights commitments and ensure that all refugees with legitimate asylum claims are protected.