Background: While countries around the world have been working to slow the spread of COVID-19, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has conducted at least 232 deportation flights to 11 different countries. These flights are linked to the spread of coronavirus throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. As of May 4, 117 deportees to Guatemala had tested positive for the virus, including children – 15% of all infections in the country.
Limitations of the public health systems in these countries make the potential impact of a broader outbreak particularly devastating. Additionally, most migrant shelters, transportation companies and social service agencies are closed, leaving recently returned migrants with few options.
Last month, many of you helped us alert members of Congress to the dangers of deportations to migrants’ health and the public health of countries whose hospitals and health systems are not prepared to contain or treat a pandemic. As Congress considers preparing another coronavirus response bill, please ask Congress to halt all deportations during this pandemic.
Faith reflection: In this time of global need, we should respond with love and compassion to all, especially the widow, the orphan and the migrants – those closest to God’s heart. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 John 3:17). Let us live out God’s love.
Action: Urge your members of Congress to speak out against ongoing deportations in this time of global pandemic and to include provisions to halt deportations in upcoming COVID-19 legislation.