Report: At least 138 sent from US to El Salvador were killed

Report: At least 138 sent from US to El Salvador were killed
Carlos Ernesto Gutierrez, a migrant from El Salvador, changes his shoes on the bridge spanning the Suchiate River, in Tecun Uman, on the border with Mexico, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, as he waits with a small group of migrants from El Salvador at this legal port of entry. (Source: AP Photo/Moises Castillo/AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Human Rights Watch says at least 138 people deported from the U.S. to El Salvador in recent years were subsequently killed in the Central American country.

The group says a majority of those deportees were killed within a year and some within days of returning to a country with the highest homicide rate in the Western Hemisphere.

A report released by the group Wednesday also documented at least 70 cases of sexual assault and other violence against deportees.

It comes as the Trump administration works to discourage Central Americans from trying to claim asylum in the U.S.

A Homeland Security official said the number of border apprehensions has dropped for the eighth straight month, following crackdowns by the Trump administration that include forcing asylum seekers back over the U.S.-Mexico border.

The official says the number of encounters with border officials over the past four months was 165,000. A year earlier during the same time it was about 242,000.

The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official results have not been released.

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