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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

US agents in Guatemala detained Honduran migrants in unauthorized operation: Senate report

 By Rafael Bernal

US agents in Guatemala detained Honduran migrants in unauthorized operation: Senate report
© Getty Images

U.S. officials in Guatemala allegedly misused State Department funding for an operation to block a Honduran migrant group from moving north, according to a report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The report, compiled by Democratic minority staff of the panel, alleges that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials deployed in an advisory capacity misused the funding "to carry out an unauthorized operation."

"Specifically, CBP personnel in Guatemala transported an unidentified number of Honduran migrants in unmarked vans to relocate them to the Guatemala-Honduras border," the report read.

The incident, which occurred in January, shows the extent to which American immigration policy is carried out south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

It's also a case that shows a rift between the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, which is responsible for funding the program under which CBP personnel were deployed.

The report states that the State Department misinformed Foreign Relations committee investigators on January 22, saying the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) was informed by DHS that agents "did not participate in the action of bussing Honduran migrants from Guatemala."

"However, as would soon become apparent, DHS had lied to the State Department in order to cover up its role in the joint operations with Guatemalan authorities," according to the report.

A week later, DHS and State Department officials told committee investigators that the actions taken by CBP officials violated the terms of the agreement between the two agencies.

"This explosive report is a painful reminder of how President Trump's anti-immigrant agenda has overtaken every aspect of this administration's work," said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, whose staff wrote the report.

The direct tactical participation of U.S. officials in foreign immigration enforcement is believed to be the first such case, and could break a series of U.S. and international laws.

Because Honduran migrants were allegedly bussed back to their country without rosters, paperwork or oversight, there is no way to know if families were separated in the process, or whether any asylum rights were violated.

The deployment of tactical agents, who ultimately engaged in actions far beyond their advisory role, coincides with statements made by DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf on U.S. security aid to Guatemala.

Wolf on January 14 attended Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei's inauguration, later meeting privately with the president to discuss immigration cooperation.

For more information contact us at http://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/

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