Chapter 9 Migrant trash or humanitarian responsibility? Central American government state responses to deported nationals
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Long before Central American migrants reach the US-Mexico border, they travel for weeks or months through some of the most impoverished regions of Mexico, some riding on the roofs of freight trains. It is a difficult journey even for those who make it to the US, because they sometimes face deportation. Each week a steady stream of migrants is arrested and deported from the US to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the Northern Triangle of Central America. In the last decade there has been an increase in the number of Central American migrant deportations; after the Mexicans, Northern Triangle emigrants are the most numerous. In this chapter I examine how migrant-sending states are institutionalizing reception policies for deported migrants. These policies vary from country to country and can include the creation of institutions, programmes or statistical databases, or short-term actions such as providing snacks, phone calls and currency exchange to deported citizens. I ask which factors make some sending states reluctant to implement reception policies and argue that since deported migrants represent neither a political nor an economic gain, governments give limited attention to reception policies.

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