U.S. Agents Returned Migrants to Honduras in Unauthorized Operation, Senate Report Says

U.S. border agents operating in Guatemala detained Honduran migrants intending to make their way to the U.S. border and returned them to Honduras in an unauthorized procedure final January, a assessment by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee observed.

The agents were stationed in Guatemala, together with other international locations across Latin The united states, to assistance prepare neighborhood law enforcement in counter narcotics and other initiatives. They are strictly prohibited by the Condition Division, which supplies their funding and oversees their initiatives, from conducting direct enforcement functions in international locations abroad.

Nevertheless, final January, alarm bells went off in Washington when a group of Honduran migrants from the northern town of San Pedro Sula commenced crossing the Honduras-Guatemala border, with hopes of reaching the U.S. and asking for asylum. U.S. Customs and Border Defense rented three buses and set off to halt the caravan’s progress, according to the report.

Collectively with Guatemalan border authorities, U.S. agents halted the migrants and loaded them on to buses, which then returned them to the border with Honduras, the assessment states.

The episode is the initial in which U.S. agents were acknowledged to be included in the bodily deportation of migrants from a international nation. The Senate report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and set for release later on Tuesday, observed that Customs and Border Defense officers violated boundaries imposed on them by the U.S. that prohibit enforcement functions abroad, and didn’t consider safeguards to assure that the procedure was protected or lawful.

An agent from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, much appropriate, accompanied Guatemalan law enforcement at a checkpoint exactly where they detained Honduran migrants right before deporting them.


Moises Castillo/Affiliated Press

“It raises concerns about regardless of whether the U.S. really should be accomplishing energetic immigration enforcement inside a sovereign nation,” stated Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-centered nonpartisan consider tank. “One matter is to recommend, the other is to be operationally included in enforcement.”

The Division of Homeland Stability, CBP’s parent company, didn’t react to requests for comment. In January, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary, advised a Fox Radio interviewer that the hottest caravan posed much less of a problem for the U.S. than equivalent groups who reached the U.S. border in 2018 and 2019.

“What has changed…are the range of agreements we have in spot with Honduras, with Guatemala,” he stated. He then included: “We have CBP agents—tactical agents—in Guatemala.”

Eduardo Hernandez, Guatemala’s deputy international minister for migration stated he was unaware of the DHS motion. “This is really troubling,” he stated. “We are committed to the protection of human rights.”

He and various other officers in the Guatemalan governing administration, reached for comment, stated they didn’t know of the procedure, which transpired just as the new Guatemalan governing administration was taking workplace.

U.S. Customs and Border Defense rented three buses and set off to halt the caravan’s progress, according to the report.


John Moore/Getty Photos

When Congress elevated concerns about