At least 200 migrants and asylum seekers have been killed, raped, or tortured after being deported back to El Salvador, a new report claims.
Human Rights Watch documented 138 deported Salvadorans murdered by gang members, police, soldiers, death squads and ex-partners between 2013 and 2019. The majority were killed within two years of deportation by the United States.
The report, "Deported to Danger: United States deportation policies expose Salvadoras to death and abuse," also identifies more than 70 others who were subjected to beatings, sexual assault and extortion – usually at the hand of gangs – or who went missing after being returned.
El Salvador, the most densely populated country in Central America with just over 6 million citizens, has one of the world's highest rates of homicide and sexual violence, according to The Guardian.
Almost 11,000 people were registered missing during the last decade – more than the number of people who disappeared during the 1979-1992 civil war, The Guardian reported.
The number of Salvadorans fleeing has soared, with asylum applicants in the United States increasing by almost 1,000% in five years to 60,000 in 2017, according to U.N. figures, the Guardian reported.
"The United States has to have known this was happening because the cases were publicly reported and more importantly because Salvadorans make it clear in asylum applications that this is their reality, but this reality is ignored or not believed by US authorities," Elizabeth Kennedy, co-author of the report, told The Guardian.
About three-quarters of the 1.2 million Salvadorans living in the United States without citizenship lack papers or hold a temporary legal status making them vulnerable to deportation, The Guardian noted.
Between 2014 and 2018, the United States deported 111,000 Salvadorans, and granted asylum to 18.2% of applicants – the lowest rate in the region.
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