More than 80 organizations from the US and Latin America, including Women’s Refugee Commission, released a statement denouncing the unauthorized immigration enforcement operation carried out by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Guatemala. This reckless action was documented by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff in the report, DHS Run Amok? A Reckless Overseas Operation, Violations and Lies. In our statement, we also called for immediate investigation of this operation and all other operations of DHS in Central America and Mexico, as well as for Congress to take action to prevent DHS from overstepping its mandate.
The incident documented in the Senate’s report confirms the concerns civil society in the US and Latin America have raised regarding the externalization of the US border, that includes the presence of DHS personnel in Mexico and Central America. This incident undermined US foreign policy, violated interagency agreements and funding guidelines, tried to hide information from congressional oversight, and, most concerningly could have resulted in family separations and returning asylum seekers to danger, violating human rights.