Human Rights Watch said the U.S. government's "rapid fire screening" at its border is discriminating against Central Americans, resulting in their deportation "without a genuine opportunity to claim asylum."
A 44-page report details the U.S. border policies and practices that place migrants at risk of serious harm back home.
HRW said the data it received from the U.S. government revealed that few Central American migrants are identified by the border patrol as people fearing return to their country. At least 80 percent of Hondurans who arrived between 2011 and 2012 were placed in summary removal proceedings, with only 1.9 percent flagged as possible asylum seekers. HRW said the percentages for people from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala were similar, ranging from 0.1 to 5.5 percent.
However, HRW said the border patrol flagged 21 percent of migrants from other countries during the same period for secondary, in-depth screening for asylum.
Clara Long, HRW's U.S. immigration researcher and author of the report, said "in the U.S. frenzy to stem the tide of migrants from Central America, the U.S. is sending asylum seekers back to the threat of murder, rape and other violence."
U.S. officials have not yet commented on the Human Rights Watch report.