Mothers and Children Deported Back to Honduras

U.S. Sends First Planeload of Children Back to Hell

July 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On May 13, 1939, the passenger ship the St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany, carrying 937 Jewish refugees seeking asylum from Nazi persecution. After first trying unsuccessfully to enter Cuba, the St. Louis headed for Florida, hoping that they would be welcomed there. They were not. On June 4, 1939, the U.S. not only refused their entry but even fired a warning shot to keep the ship away from Florida’s shores.

Canada also refused to accept the refugees, so the St. Louis returned to Europe. The passengers were allowed entry to Britain, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. But when Germany invaded Belgium and France in May 1940, the lives of all the Jews in those countries were threatened, and many were put to death. After the war, it was estimated that the number of Jews aboard the St. Louis who were killed by the Nazis was between 227 and 254.


On July 14, President Obama sent the first planeload of Honduran children, some as young as one and a half, back to the city with the highest murder rate in the world—San Pedro Sula, Honduras. And he did it with the promise that this is only the first of many such trips. A Department of Homeland Security official said, “Our border is not open to illegal migration, and we will send recent illegal migrants back.” How much different is this from the treatment the U.S. gave the refugees aboard the St. Louis? How long will it be before we learn that the first child deported to Honduras or another Central American country is found dead—from a bullet or from hunger—back “home”?

Some of the group of women and children, deported on a chartered flight from Arizona, arriving at airport in Guatemala City in July, 2014. Photo: AP

There were 17 women along with 21 children on the flight. But in the rush to send them back, according to the director of the Center for Attention for Returned Migrants in Honduras, “Many of the mothers are sometimes not even the real mothers of the children.” (Reuters, July 15, 2014)

One woman reported getting caught after spending $7,000 to try to get herself and her six-year-old daughter across the border. She said U.S. officials treated them like “animals,” held them in rooms of 50 people so crowded that some mothers had to sleep standing up with their child in their arms. Her daughter called the trek “horrible, cold and tiring.”

Why had they risked such a dangerous journey? A single mother said she left Honduras with her six-year-old daughter because she couldn’t find a job. She walked, took buses, and paid someone $25 to ride with her daughter on top of the “Beast,” the train that carries people north to the U.S. border. She’d been told that there was a new U.S. law that would let her enter the country. Another said her region of Honduras had become a living hell because of gangs, drug traffickers, political violence, and a lack of jobs after many factories had shut down. (For more on the U.S. hand behind the situation there, see “What’s Driving the Children of Honduras to Come to the U.S.?”)

What the U.S. is doing to these children, and to all those desperately fleeing Central America, is a crime against humanity; and it cannot be tolerated. As we have written in Revolution since the beginning of this crisis:

All the youths and children who make it to the U.S. must be treated humanely and compassionately; whenever possible, they must be reunited with family members as soon as possible. They must be given all necessary medical treatment, and put in a caring, loving environment. They must be provided with education, and they must never be deported.

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