Trump Administration Ends Its Asylum Obligations—by Outsourcing Them to Honduras

The country remains among the most violent in the world.

Officer Lagos Lobos talks to a boy whose parents tried to send him to the United States with a coyote. Days earlier, Lagos' ex-wife had smuggled their son into the US without his permission.Miguel Juarez Lugo/AP

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There are only slightly more people in all of Honduras than in New York City. Yet in the last fiscal year, more than 250,000 Hondurans—roughly 3 percent of everyone in the country—crossed into the United States, fleeing a country where gangs extort and murder with impunity. 

Now the United States is moving forward with a plan to outsource asylum claims to Honduras—effectively ending its own responsibilities to asylum seekers. Under an agreement signed by both governments in September and published on Monday by the Los Angeles Times, asylum seekers stopped at the US-Mexico border can be flown to Honduras and forced to seek protection there. If Honduras denies their claim, they’ll become ineligible to seek protection in the United States, according to the text of the deal. If Honduras grants them protection, they’ll have to live in what is still one of the world’s most violent countries, in spite of a falling murder rate. 

In October, a New York jury convicted Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s brother of trafficking cocaine in what prosecutors described as a system of “state-sponsored drug trafficking.” They named Hernández as a co-conspirator but stopped short of charging him. So the United States is now ceding authority over whether people deserve protection from life-threatening persecution to a country whose president was named by its own prosecutors as a conspirator in a massive drug trafficking scheme. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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