Quoted in The Guardian article by Nina Lakhani on 5 February

Lakhani, Nina. 2020. Hundreds of Salvadorans deported by US were killed or abused, report reveals. The Guardian 5 February <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/05/salvadorans-deported-us-killed-abused-report?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other&gt;.

“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,” said Elizabeth Kennedy, co-author of the report.

“The attack on asylum is unique in the Trump administration, which has put even more Salvadorans – and others – at risk of deportation, and made it much less likely that they are able to even present their case to get effective protection,” said Kennedy.

Deported to Danger: United States Deportation Policies Expose Salvadorans to Death and Abuse Published

It took much longer than expected, but after seven years of research — the last year-and-a-half with Human Rights Watch — the heartbreaking report on harm to deportees to El Salvador is complete. Co-written with Alison Parker, Deported to Danger: United States Deportation Policies Expose Salvadorans to Death and Abuse, is available in English here: https://www.hrw.org/report/2020/02/05/deported-danger/united-states-deportation-policies-expose-salvadorans-death-and#84ffd6 and Spanish here: https://www.hrw.org/es/report/2020/02/05/deportados-al-peligro/las-politicas-de-estados-unidos-sobre-deportacion-exponen . Thank you to the best co-author, Alison, to Human Rights Watch, and to every person who took their time and often several risks to make this report possible and bring it to publication.

The report has received widespread coverage, including in:


English, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-elsalvador/salvadorans-killed-after-u-s-deportation-highlights-dangers-to-migrants-report-idUSKBN1ZZ0G4

Spanish, https://lta.reuters.com/articulo/migracion-elsalvador-informe-idLTAKBN1ZZ229-OUSLT

Associated Press




The Guardian


National Public Radio



Voice of America

English, https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/report-at-least-138-people-sent-from-us-to-el-salvador-were-killed/5275212.html

Spanish, https://www.voanoticias.com/a/salvarenos-y-el-peligro-de-regresar/5275167.html



NBC News


The Washington Post


Al Jazeera


PBS Newshour




Los Angeles Times


United Press International (UPI)




The Week








Fox News




South China Morning Post


The Hill


The New York Daily News


The Independent


Daily Mail




Global News

At least 138 killed after being deported from U.S. to El Salvador, report says

Taiwan News




Democracy Now


National Catholic Reporter




Common Dreams


The Philadelphia Inquirer


La Prensa Grafica


El Faro


El Diario de Hoy


El Mundo

Más de 130 salvadoreños deportados por EEUU han sido asesinados en los últimos seis años

138 salvadoreños deportados de EE.UU. fueron asesinados


Algunos salvadoreños deportados de EE.UU. son asesinados según Human Rights Watch

NTN24 (Colombia)

Indus News (Pakistan)

Quoted in Progressive article by James Goodman on 1 December 2019

Goodman, James. 2019. The Sanctuary Strategy. The Progressive 1 December. <https://progressive.org/magazine/the-sanctuary-strategy-goodman/>.

Her fear is well-founded. Between 2013 and 2019, more than 100 Salvadoran deportees from the United States were harmed after being returned to their homeland, says Elizabeth Kennedy, an independent researcher who has prepared a report on this issue for Human Rights Watch.

Some were murdered. Others were raped, became victims of state torture, or simply disappeared, says Kennedy, who relied on a variety of sources, including interviews with survivors and their relatives. Her conclusion: “The fears [deportees] have are real and are realized if they are returned.”

Citado en reportaje de Univision por Jorge Cancino el 11 de diciembre de 2019

Cancino, Jorge. 2019. Biden promete revertir la política de asilo de Trump y un plan Marshall en Centroamérica. Univisión 11 December. <https://www.univision.com/noticias/inmigracion/biden-promete-revertir-la-politica-de-asilo-de-trump-y-un-plan-marshall-en-centroamerica>.

“La gente, los adultos y las familias, siguen huyendo por las mismas razones: la inseguridad y la violencia que incluye el abuso doméstico, la pobreza extrema y la reunificación familiar”, dijo a Univision Noticias en 2015 la investigadora Elizabeth Kennedy, en ese momento profesora de la Universidad Estatal de San Diego y de la Universidad de California en Santa Bárbara, una de las autoras del estudio que advirtió la emergencia dos años antes.

Kennedy también advirtió que las condiciones de vida en Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras no eran las mismas que un año antes, “han empeorado”, y que esa situación “genera un mayor flujo de migrantes” hacia Estados Unidos.

Presenting in Philadelphia in October 2019

After many years of planning and promising, La Puerta Abierta and I finally got to share with the public some of our collaboration over in “Realities of Migrating Youth from Central America: A Community Dialogue with Elizabeth G. Kennedy.” to learn more about the hosts, go to their websites:

La Puerta Abierta, https://lpa-theopendoor.org

City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services, https://dbhids.org

Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services (PACTS), http://www.philadelphiapacts.org/provider-map/

Quoted in Guardian article by Nina Lakhani on 30 July 2019

Lakhani, Nina. 2019. Living without water: the crisis pushing people out of El Salvador. The Guardian 30 July <https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jul/30/el-salvador-water-crisis-privatization-gangs-corruption>.

Nejapa has one of the highest murder rates in the country, with 71 homicides per 100,000 habitants in 2018, according to research by Elizabeth G Kennedy, a migration and violence scholar.

Quoted in Inter Press Service article by Caley Pigliucci on 12 June 2019

Pigliucci, Caley. 2019. The Forgotten Migrants of Central America. Inter Press Service 12 June <http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/06/forgotten-migrants-central-america/>.

Elizabeth Kennedy, a researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW) based in Honduras, told IPS, “When we talk about climate change, we have to think about historical and social factors that leave certain groups more impacted than others…many of the people who farm and fish on the lands most vulnerable to climate change have been historically mistreated.” 

“Realizing that those most impacted are indigenous is critical, because it hasn’t been part of the main stream conversation, and it needs to be,” Kennedy added.

However, Kennedy emphasized that “Indigeneity is a protected factor, and that is a reason to claim asylum.” But she warns that in the case of migration from Central America, “many people around the US, including lawyers are not aware that they need to be looking at historic and systemic inclusion.”

She added that this is true “even in Guatemala and Honduras. This is in fact demonstrative that the state doesn’t take it seriously.”

Researchers, like Kennedy, are frustrated as they see little data and few programs that help indigenous and rural people which also take into account the fraught history that indigenous people have in Central America, a place where a number of massacres occurred in 1996 and many are still recovering from the violence. 

Kennedy said there are six indigenous groups in Honduras and over 30 in Guatemala, but she expressed her desire to see “updated statistics on the various indigenous groups.”

Alongside the increase of internal migration and external migration among youth, Kennedy also sees an increase in family units migrating away from Guatemala and Honduras in recent years, which, she says, “shows that more is happening than needing to just provide economic stability to the home.”

Kennedy worries that not enough is being done. “They need targeted programs, they need targeted statistics, and these are not provided,” she said.

Citado en reportaje de Univision por Jorge Cancino el 10 de junio de 2019

Cancino, Jorge. 2019. Estas son las duras consecuencias del nuevo acuerdo entre EEUU y México para los migrantes que piden asilo en la frontera. Univisión 10 June. <https://www.univision.com/noticias/inmigracion/estas-son-las-duras-consecuencias-del-nuevo-acuerdo-entre-eeuu-y-mexico-para-los-migrantes-que-piden-asilo-en-la-frontera>.

Entre los principales afectados se encuentran los migrantes de “El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y México”, dice Elizabeth Kennedy, investigadora académica de HRW.

“Muchos están detenidos en lugares aislados donde no pueden obtener representación legal. Para ganar sus casos necesitan un abogado y eso es prácticamente imposible con estas políticas. Y a ello se suman los traumas que han desarrollado”, añade.

En el 2013 Kennedy fue una de las investigadoras de la Universidad de California que advirtió al gobierno de Obama la crisis en la frontera, pero las autoridades federales no hicieron caso a las recomendaciones y el problema se hizo enorme, al punto que superó toda expectativa y presagio.

Citado en reportaje de Univision por Jorge Cancino el 20 de mayo de 2019

Cancino, Jorge. 2019. Por que la política de asilo de Trump no busca proteger sino deportar a los migrantes que huyen. Univisión 20 May. <https://www.univision.com/noticias/inmigracion/por-que-la-politica-de-asilo-de-trump-no-busca-proteger-sino-deportar-a-los-migrantes-que-huyen>.

Las amenazas y políticas del presidente Donald Trump no han detenido la verdadera causa del éxodo de migrantes centroamericanos que huyen de sus países en busca de asilo en Estados Unidos. La gente huye “para mejorar la vida o seguir adelante, para estar con su familia, para escapar de la pobreza o encontrar trabajo. Pero esto es solo una parte y no toda la historia”, advierte Elizabeth Kennedy, investigadora académica de Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Entre 2013 y 2014 Kennedy, junto a otros investigadores de las universidades Estatal de San Diego y de California, elaboraron un informe que advirtió la existencia de un éxodo que fue enviado a la Agencia de la ONU para los refugiados (ACNUR), quien luego lo remitió a los gobiernos de Estados Unidos, Canadá y Centroamérica. Un informe al que los líderes responsables le hicieron caso omiso.