The New Yorker: When Deportation Is a Death Sentence

The Global Migration Project at Columbia University has documented the experiences of US deportees forced to return to their home nations over the past decade: A young man mistakenly deported died in a prison fire; gangs often assume returnees have money and murdered a father and fractured the skull of a 13-year-old; a cartel kidnapped a former police woman. Sarah Stillman, the project’s director, recounts for the New Yorker the story a 23-year-old waitress in Texas stopped by police and identified an undocumented immigrant. She had a protection order against an abusive ex-husband already deported to Mexico. Border patrol officers took her to the border. Not long afterward, the husband confessed to strangling her and setting her car on fire with the body inside. “No U.S. government body monitors the fate of deportees, and immigrant-aid groups typically lack the resources to document what happens to those who have been sent back,” explains Stillman “Fear of retribution keeps most grieving families from speaking publicly.” Over the past decade lawsuits have been filed against the United States about its responsibility to protect deportees and failure to provide due process. International law forbids the removal of refugees to countries where they may be tortured, killed or persecuted. The tragedy is compounded for children who are US citizens that left behind with bureaucratic challenges for friends and relatives who try to provide care. – YaleGlobal

The New Yorker: When Deportation Is a Death Sentence

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States may face violence and murder in their home countries, as documented by the Global Migration Project
Sarah Stillman
Friday, January 12, 2018

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Sarah Stillman is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is also the director of the Global Migration Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she teaches a course on covering immigration and refugee issues. She has written on topics ranging from civil forfeiture to debtors’ prisons and from Mexico’s drug cartels to Bangladesh’s garment-factory workers.

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