Organizational Culture Events involving “Office of Field Operations”

September 27, 2021

“Karla [not real name], another migrant organizer, described her experience being denied asylum three times. She said, “I went to the Tijuana border looking for help and protection asking immigration for asylum. They rejected me, humiliated me, and denied me asylum. I cried together with my children, pleaded with them and asked for their help to be able to request asylum. When they saw me cry, they told me not to because not even with my tears was I going to convince them and that I better step aside because I was in the way. As I cried for help, they laughed at me and my children. I tried to seek asylum in three different ports of entry along the border and I have always been rejected, humiliated. They threatened to call the Mexican authorities on me who also humiliated us.””

“CBP closed port of entry after denying access to migrant family seeking asylum, accompanied by Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, September 27, 2021) <https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/press-release-cbp-closed-port-of-entry-after-denying-access-to-migrant-family-seeking-asylum-accompanied-by-tucson-bishop-edward-weisenburger/>

Sector(s): Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Unknown

September 27, 2021

“Laura fled southern Mexico with her two kids, her brother and his family- after her husband was shot by the local mafia. Laura and her family, accompanied by the Bishop, went through the turnstile at the DeConcini port of entry only to be turned away in tears.

“Chelsea Sachau, attorney with the Florence Project, who accompanied the family recounts the event, “The family reasserted their request to be processed and to seek asylum. They asked to speak to someone else [other than the CBP officials], a supervisor, and then the CBP officers entered the building and locked both doors. They tested to make sure that both doors were locked, and then they slowly started lowering the gate to shut down the entire port of entry because this family, accompanied by faith leaders, and a legal observer, asked him for their right to seek asylum.” Laura and her family were forced to step back as the gate lowered onto where they were standing. Sachau continues, “There was no warning given to anyone, neither ourselves or anyone in line who had papers to enter into the US.” The DeConcini port of entry was shut down for about an hour to anyone trying to cross into the U.S.”

“CBP closed port of entry after denying access to migrant family seeking asylum, accompanied by Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, September 27, 2021) <https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/press-release-cbp-closed-port-of-entry-after-denying-access-to-migrant-family-seeking-asylum-accompanied-by-tucson-bishop-edward-weisenburger/>

Sector(s): Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Unknown

June 30, 2021

“A Mexican man, his wife, and two children presented themselves at the Mariposa port of entry twice to seek asylum in the US. The agents on duty first told them they needed to go to the Mexican immigration office at the Mexican port of entry at the other side of the road. When the Mexican authorities said they can’t do anything, the family returned to the US port of entry. The same agents said the only thing they could do was deport them to Mexico. The family had pleaded with the agents, saying they were afraid to go back as they had received death threats from the police in their village who were involved in organized crime. The CBP agents said they could not help them, and they needed to go to Kino Border Initiative to get legal help. They called a Mexican government agent to pick the family up and take them to Kino.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Due Process Denied, August 2021. <https://networklobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/KINO-NETWORK-CBP-Abuses-consolidated.pdf>.

Sector(s): Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, Complaint filed with OPR

April 4, 2021

“In a new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, three Black CBP officers are suing the Department of Homeland Security, alleging CBP routinely targets and harasses Black travelers at the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia. Of the 275 CBP officers who work at that location, four are Black.”

“…The Michigan lawsuit highlights what some immigration and civil rights advocates describe as a pervasive and unchecked problem of racial profiling at CBP, an agency they say has been steeped in institutional racism for decades.  Similar racial profiling lawsuits have been filed over the years in Montana, Virginia, Texas, Washington, Ohio and Maine, though CBP has routinely denied culpability and avoided repercussions.

“Nationwide, Black people account for less than 6% of the total CBP workforce of 21,185. More than 62% of employees are white; another 25% are Hispanic.”

Source: Tresa Baldas, “Customs and Border Protection officer says racism at Michigan-Canada border happens daily: ‘It needs to be exposed'” (The Detroit Free Press, April 4, 2021) <https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/04/04/cbp-officers-lawsuit-racial-profiling-issue-us-canada-border/7076949002/>.

Sector(s): Northern Border

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Racial Discrimination or Profiling

Accountability Status: Lawsuit Filed

November 2, 2020

“A Guatemalan woman and her one-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son entered the United States and were detained by CBP. At Tucson station, when they were being transferred, the Guatemalan woman asked where she was being taken; the CBP agent replied she did not know, but that they might take the woman’s fear declaration at the next station. The woman was taken to Nogales. The woman asked an agent to take her fear declaration, but the agent said CBP doesn’t do that in Nogales. Then the woman asked another agent who gave her food to take her fear declaration. That CBP agent didn’t speak Spanish and asked another agent to come over to interpret. She told them that a family member had been killed in Guatemala and that she also feared returning to Mexico as she had been robbed there. The agents told her that her case doesn’t matter since there are gangs in the U.S. too. The woman and her children were expelled to Mexico soon after.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Due Process Denied, August 2021. <https://networklobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/KINO-NETWORK-CBP-Abuses-consolidated.pdf>.

Sector(s): Tucson, Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, Complaint filed with OPR, No further action

June 16, 2020

Janine Bouey, a 60-year-old U.S. Army veteran and former Los Angeles Police Department officer, reports being repeatedly shackled, sexually assaulted (at one point with a canine), sworn at, and forced to disrobe without privacy by CBP agents who pulled her out of line while she was crossing into San Diego from Tijuana. Ms. Bouey, who is Black, was released without any allegation of wrongdoing. When she complained to a younger Black CBP officer, he replied, “These things happen.” Ms. Bouey alleges that CBP officers committed “sexual assault, assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, Bane Act violations, Ralph Act violations, equal protection violations, and California Civil Code section 49 violations.”

Source: Law Offices of Joseph M. McMullen, “Federal Tort Claims Act Administative Claim, Claimants: Janine A. Bouey (DOB: 8/18/1959)” (San Diego: June 9, 2021) <https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/alliancesandiego/pages/3234/attachments/original/1623816903/FTCA_Claim.pdf?1623816903>.

Sector(s): San Diego Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Racial Discrimination or Profiling, Sexual Assault

Accountability Status: Lawsuit Filed