Hundreds sent back to Central America after fleeing gangs: report

Hundreds sent back to Central America after fleeing gangs: report
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Hundreds of migrants fleeing violent Central American gangs have been deported back to the region under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to an Associated Press report.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE has said his administration’s zero tolerance policy, which requires the prosecution of all individuals who enter the U.S. without documentation, will effectively prevent Central American gang members from coming to the U.S.

He tweeted in June that gang members “pour into and infest our Country.”


However, the AP’s report suggests the policy actually affects most those seeking refuge from gangs in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Less than 1 percent of those apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol in 2017 belonged to Central American gangs, according to the AP, and many of those not affiliated with gangs were migrants trying to escape the violence.

“These are people who are, for the vast majority, fleeing violence,” migration researcher Kathy Bougher told the AP. “And they need safety.”

The Trump administration last month ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to many victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.

“Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum,” Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE wrote on June 11.

According to AP statistics, in 2000 only 29,000 of 1.6 million immigrants at the southwest border were from countries other than Mexico.

In 2017, nearly 163,000 were from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras alone compared with approximately 128,000 from Mexico.