Quoted in International Bar Association article by Rupert Knox on 1 May

Knox, Rupert. 2020. The US asylum system returning Central Americans to danger. International Bar Association 1 May <https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=1C8BD1F0-3F62-4685-BE2B-729779FF585B&gt;.

The refusal to recognise the dangers faced by many returnees is not limited to the US – Canada, Mexico and European nations continue to deport Salvadorans. The Government of El Salvador has also largely ignored the fate of deportees, often stigmatising them as presumed criminals. Elizabeth Kennedy, the former researcher on El Salvador for HRW and co-author of the report, notes that the Salvadoran Foreign Minister’s public response to the report ‘exemplified that they intend to continue viewing deportees as criminals and frankly people undeserving of protection’.

Kennedy also says that US authorities, at least publicly, did not respond to the report’s findings. …

Kennedy is now independently researching the situation in Honduras. Gang violence, high-crime neighbourhoods, security force abuses and institutional weakness create a similar cocktail of impunity and lack of protection. The same factors drive many Hondurans to try to reach the US and claim asylum. Just as in El Salvador, most are deported, and face the same stigma and threat to life on return, often feeling compelled to try to reach the US again.

The increasing obstacles to Central Americans claiming asylum in the US started before Trump and the Covid-19 crisis, but as Kennedy says, this ‘[Trump] administration has gone step by step taking apart what little hope and guarantees existed’.

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