Organizational Culture Events

Examples of abuses or other behaviors indicating need for reform at U.S. border and migration institutions

January 31, 2021

“A Honduran woman fled domestic abuse from a partner in Honduras who is connected to organized crime. She filed a police report in Honduras and he threatened her even more. While traveling through Mexico, she feared being forced into prostitution to survive. She was able to avoid this. On the way to the United States, she was kidnapped by the cartel and ransomed for one thousand dollars. When a friend was able to pay the ransom, the cartel dropped her and 38 others off in the desert. Once she entered the United States through the desert she was detained by Border Patrol. At that time, she told the Border Patrol agent she wanted a lawyer to claim asylum. The agent said she will be able to ask for one at the next facility. At the next facility she asked again and said she needed help to file for protection. The agent she spoke to at that facility knew Spanish. This agent said he couldn’t do anything about it and that she could tell someone in the next facility she will be transferred to. Then she was taken to the Tucson Border Patrol station where she told another agent she wanted a lawyer to file for asylum. The agent said he was not going to violate immigration law for her or anyone else. He said she did not have rights because she arrived illegally. She tried to tell her story of violence and persecution to several other agents, but the first one didn’t allow her to speak to anyone else and just shouted at her to get on the bus. She was expelled to Nogales, Sonora. She fears that Mexico is also unsafe for her since it is where the cartel who kidnapped her operates. While in Mexico, she has been “approached by men in a dark vehicle” and she worries that she will be attacked.”

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

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

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

January 29, 2021

“Diosmani Ramos was shot by a Border Patrol agent sometime around 7:38 am, about a mile away from the Hidalgo port of entry. Diosmani was holding a stone, and the Border Patrol agent shot him in the chest when he refused to drop it. Diosmani was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9 am.

Source: NBC News, “US Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots Man Crossing Border Into Texas”, January 2021. <https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/us-border-patrol-agent-fatally-shoots-man-crossing-border-into-texas/2537557/>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter, Use of Force

Accountability Status:

January 29, 2021

“A Guatemalan man entered the United States near Sasabe, Sonora and  walked for four hours before being met by Border Patrol who were on motorcycles.  At first the man started to run, but when the official got closer, he stopped and put  his hands up. The agent then grabbed him and shoved him to the ground, causing  pain to his shoulder. He was then moved to Tucson. He was not given any medical  attention for his shoulder. He was instead expelled to Nogales, while he was still  experiencing pain.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Due Process Denied, January 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Denial of Medical Care, Use of Force

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, No further action

January 28, 2021

“A Guatemalan man crossed into the United States and was detained in  the desert. The border patrol agents who arrested them were driving a four wheeler. They drove really fast, right towards the immigrants. The immigrants had  to jump out of the way to avoid being run over. The Guatemalan man fell over when  he jumped out of the way. Despite not resisting arrest, an agent put his hand around  the migrant’s neck and pulled him to handcuff him. The agents were laughing as they handcuffed him. Despite cold temperatures, he was made to remove his outerwear and walk only in a t-shirt. He was forced to walk 20 minutes handcuffed.  Afterwards, he was transported to Tucson and promptly expelled.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Due Process Denied, January 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation, Use of Force

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, No further action

January 27, 2021

“A Honduran woman fled Honduras with her 14 and 17-year-old sons after several members of her immediate family were murdered by members of organized crime. The guide who was taking them across the border instructed one of the boys to cross first. The woman and the younger son crossed later and were detained at the border in Southern Arizona. CBP officers shouted at them in English, which the woman and boy did not speak. Later, at the CBP station, she told an agent that she wanted to request asylum, and that she had a daughter who was living in the US with special needs. He said that at this time there is no access to asylum for single women. He said only unaccompanied minors could access asylum. She began to cry and said nothing else. She and her younger son were expelled to Mexico.”

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

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, Complaint filed with OPR, Shared with DHS OIG

January 17, 2021

“A Venezuelan man entered the United States and was detained by Border Patrol. He had narrowly escaped criminals who tried to pull him back to Mexico. They managed to take his backpack, which had his phone and other belongings. It was soon after this that he was detained. He was taken to Ajo Station, where he was forced to sign several documents, most of which were in English, a language he does not speak. He fled Venezuela because of persecution he experienced. When he told the agents he was afraid to return to Venezuela, they asked him which was more dangerous: Mexico or Venezuela. He told them he thought both were dangerous. The following day he was forced to sign papers and said he was being expelled under MPP; he was also told he would be given an opportunity to speak with an immigration official in Tucson the following day. This was a lie; he was never given this opportunity. He was transported to Tucson and expelled to Nogales, Sonora two days later.”

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

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

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

January 12, 2021

On January 12, 2021, Rafael Mercado Arechiga reported to the Freedom for Immigrants National Hotline that he was not receiving adequate mental health care or medication for pain. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that Officer Williams, a CCA officer, has been joining psychiatric appointments and recommending treatment and medication changes but admits that she is not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. Since Core Civic took over, Mr. Mercado Arechiga has only been given Tylenol instead of Gabapentin and has been switched to a few different PTSD medications that have not been working for him. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that his conditions have been getting worse since switching medications and that Tylenol is not enough for the amount of pain he feels. Mr. Mercado Arechiga also reported that he’s been in solitary for a year. He remains in a solitary cell for 22 hours a day and is not able to exercise or socialize. 

Source: Freedom for Immigrants, “CRCL Complaint Erik Mercado Arechiga” January 2021. <https://share.mayfirst.org/s/F2soW64cQDRr6fe?dir=undefined&path=%2F&openfile=8425396>

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): ICE

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: No further action

January 11, 2021

On January 11, 2021, Erik Mercado Arechiga reported to the Freedom for Immigrants National Hotline that the detention facility is supposed to pay a detained worker to clean the showers in the unit but they are leaving that position unfilled. The showers are shared with individuals who have COVID-19 and those who do not. The showers are extremely filthy; people don’t even want to go in them to shower. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that he walked into the showers and couldn’t even stomach the filth, so he washed himself in a sink.

Source: Freedom for Immigrants, “CRCL Complaint Erik Mercado Arechiga”, January 2021. <https://share.mayfirst.org/s/F2soW64cQDRr6fe?dir=undefined&path=%2F&openfile=8425396>

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): ICE

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Disregard to Public Health

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, No further action