Organizational Culture Events involving “DHS”

October 21, 2021

“In the past two months alone,” Human Rights First reports, “DHS has denied parole requests for many vulnerable asylum seekers, including a Honduran lesbian couple who were raped by Mexican police, a Honduran family with a seven-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy, a homeless Haitian asylum seeker living with HIV, and Mexican LGBTQ+ asylum seekers who were sexually assaulted and beaten in Mexico. Even when CBP officers at ports of entry have granted urgent requests for humanitarian parole, this has often come only after complaints to DHS headquarters – and officers have still refused to parole accompanying family members, leading to family separations.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Family Separation, Inappropriate Deportation

Accountability Status: No steps taken

October 2021

“In October 2021 DHS agents repeatedly told an asylum-seeking Honduran family to “shut up” and refused to answer their questions as they transferred the family by plane from McAllen, Texas, where they had crossed the border to seek asylum, to Arizona for expulsion into Nogales, Mexico. According to Kino Border Initiative, an agent attempted to seize the family’s documents related to their asylum claim.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley, Tucson

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Confiscation of Documents, Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Unknown

September 2021

“In September 2021, DHS expelled an asylum-seeking Haitian family to Haiti after holding them for days in a freezing cell without sufficient food. DHS separated the family from an adult brother who had crossed into Del Rio, Texas with them where they had attempted to seek asylum together based on political persecution. The family remains in hiding in Haiti, terrified their persecutors will find them, according to Blaine Bookey from the UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, DHS

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Food or Water, Family Separation

Accountability Status:

September 2021

“Belone Mpembele, an asylum seeker from Angola, was expelled to Haiti by the United States due to its failure to provide access to the U.S asylum system or even screen individuals at the border in its rush to expel Haitians in September 2021.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, DHS

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation, Denial of Asylum, Inappropriate Deportation

Accountability Status: Unknown

Late September 2021

“A Haitian mother expelled in late September 2021 begged U.S. officers to remove her handcuffs to enable her to comfort her crying young daughter on the plane ride, according to Blaine Bookey from UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody

Accountability Status: Unknown

September 2021

“In September 2021, at least 12 Haitian asylum seekers who expressed fear of return to Haiti were expelled under Title 42 by U.S. officials without access to the U.S. asylum system or any fear screening, according to their lawyer Mirlande Joachim. DHS withheld information about the whereabouts of Joachim’s clients and told her on multiple occasions that she could not speak with them, at one point instructing her to contact the Haitian consulate to speak her clients, some of whom had fled persecution by Haitian government actors. One Haitian asylum seeker told Joachim that she had informed multiple U.S. government officers in the facility where she was being detained that she was seeking asylum and feared return to Haiti but was completely ignored.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Counsel, Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Unknown

August 2021

“In August 2021, DHS subjected three Nicaraguan political dissidents to a lateral expulsion flight after they sought protection near McAllen, Texas. DHS officers verbally abused them, threatening to release dogs to attack them. The officers woke the men at 1:00 am, handcuffed them, and forced them to stand for more than two hours before the expulsion flight. The officers lied to the men telling them that they would be sent to California and permitted to pursue their asylum cases, but instead expelled them to Tijuana. From there, Mexican immigration officials transported them to Mexico’s southern border and attempted to deport them to Guatemala, but Guatemalan immigration authorities refused to accept them, leaving them stranded in southern Mexico, according to Anaís Catalina, an advocate assisting them.”

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley, San Diego

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Denial of Asylum, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Threat of Violence

Accountability Status: Unknown

August 2021

In August 2021, DHS expelled Cynthia, a 21-year-old pregnant Honduran woman to Mexico, without providing her water or medical attention after she had begged for something to drink and to see a doctor for stomach pain.

Source: Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) <https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: Unknown

October 29, 2020

Although DHS has not released official numbers by location, local partners estimate about 100 migrants a
day are being returned to Sasabe, Sonora, Mx under Title 42 expulsions. This border town, with a population
around 2,500, does not have a shelter for migrants who find themselves expelled and without resources.
Organized crime has significant control in Sasabe, and there is no official headquarters for Instituto National
de Migración (INM). Rather, INM officials have been traveling regularly from their office in Nogales, Sonora to
Sasabe to attend to migrants who have been expelled.

A migrant who fled violence in Cuba arrived in Nogales this week after spending two weeks attempting to cross into the US through the desert. After running out of food and being abandoned by their guide, his group finally turned themselves in to Border Patrol out of desperation. Although he was expelled to Nogales, a friend traveling in the same group with him was returned to Sasabe.

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “October 29 Update From KBI”, October 2020.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP, DHS

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation

Accountability Status: No steps taken

August 7, 2020

NBC News reports:

“The sidelining by the Trump appointees [Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli] is felt acutely in the agency’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, or CRCL, where employees hired to field complaints about DHS and review new policies believe they are not being heard, said the two current [DHS] officials, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

“In recent months, CRCL has raised concerns about the development of a new use-of-force policy for Customs and Border Protection, the two current officials said, including concerns about the use of chemical deterrents against people trying to damage the wall on the southern U.S. border. But after raising those concerns, the office has yet to hear back on whether agents will be allowed to use chemicals to deter people trying to damage the wall.

“According to recent reports, Cuccinelli removed CRCL from its usual role of reviewing the reports from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the office recently accused of collecting intelligence on journalists covering the protests in Portland, Oregon.”

Source: Julia Ainsley and Laura Strickler, “DHS staffers say Trump appointees Wolf, Cuccinelli ignoring input on protests, immigration policy” (NBC News, August 7, 2020) <https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/dhs-staffers-say-trump-appointees-wolf-cuccinelli-ignoring-input-protests-n1236040>

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Crowd Control, Use of Force, Weak Oversight

Accountability Status: No steps taken