Honduran revolving door migrants ready to return to US

Friday, April 26, 2019

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SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AFP) Victor Aguilera tried to get into the United States by fair means or foul, but like thousands before him, he was caught and deported back to the Honduran city he came from.

As he arrived, shackled hand and foot, in San Pedro Sula aboard a US Government-chartered plane, hundreds of hopeful compatriots were setting out in a caravan in the opposite direction.

These are Honduras' revolving door migrants. And there are thousands of them, ready to risk detention in the US rather than endure the deadly stranglehold of gang violence in their impoverished Central American country.

“I'm going to stay for a couple of days and then I'm going to head back,” 38-year-old Aguilera told AFP, dressed in a white shirt and jeans, a sweatshirt tied around his waist.

Aguilera had stepped off a plane chartered by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency at San Pedro Sula airport, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa. Planeloads of deportees land here every day, many of them already thinking about how to go back.

While the deportees trudge across the airport tarmac, between 300 and 400 Hondurans are setting out daily on their own fraught journey, crossing into Guatemala on the first waypoint on the road to the United States.

“This year up to March 31, we registered the return of 19,605 Hondurans,” said Liz Medrano, head of the General Directorate of the Protection of Honduran Migrants.


Honduran migration expert Ricardo Puerta says the United States' immigration system has collapsed.

“Institutionalised immigration is currently saturated in the United States,” he said. “The raids they are making on the border have reached a limit.”

He said the 678 detention centers for undocumented migrants in the United States — including military bases — are full.

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