Organizational Culture Events

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

February 28, 2021

“A Honduran woman, her daughter, neighbor, and neighbor’s daughter  entered the United States and were detained by Border Patrol. They were taken to a  border facility which had other immigrants. The agents took the fingerprints in a  rough manner, which caused her daughter to cry out in Spanish that her mom was  good and the police should not take her away. The agents then got angry and  insulted them, calling them “rats.” Their belongings were confiscated (bags, clothes,  diapers, formula for babies). They did not give them water when they asked for  some because they were thirsty from walking. Three hours later, they gave them  juice and crackers. Despite the facility being cold, they were not permitted to put on  any outerwear they brought with them. The next day, when they were being  transported out of the facility and the woman asked for their jackets, an agent  threatened to shoot them; saying “you should have thought about that before you  brought your daughter here” and “Don’t move! I’ve got a gun and I am not afraid to  use it.” Her daughter’s lips were cracked because of the cold. While they were being  transferred, they were kept out in the cold while the agents went to a place with  heat. When she asked for a new diaper for her daughter, the agent denied her this. Her daughter went 18 hours in a soiled diaper. They were expelled to Nogales.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Food or Water

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

February 28, 2021

“Last week, a young Guatemalan woman who crossed the border through the desert was approached by
Border Patrol agents traveling on four wheelers. When she tried to run, one agent hit her with his four
wheeler. The impact threw her into a cluster of thorny bushes. When she arrived at KBI, she was in a great
deal of pain. Her legs were throbbing, and she had thorns embedded in the skin on her legs and back.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “March 4 Update From KBI”, March 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 27, 2021

“A young Salvadoran man traveling with his sister arrived at our migrant center after being expelled under
Title 42 last week. While he was in CBP custody, a Border Patrol agent yelled at the group he was traveling
with: “Don’t move, you “M—- F—-rs.” The agent threatened that if they so much as moved, he would release
the dog to “tear them into sh–.” While detained by CBP, they did not receive any food, and were not allowed
to go to the bathroom until they repeatedly insisted. They were expelled to Nogales, Sonora at 12AM, when
the Mexican immigration office was closed and there was no one there to receive them, so they slept outside
the INM office in the cold. When they arrived at KBI, they had gone about 3 days without eating.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “March 4 Update From KBI”, March 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Abusive Language, Denial of Food or Water

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 26, 2021

“Last weekend the Florence Project was alerted to a pregnant woman at a local hospital who was in Border
Patrol custody. Fearing she would be removed without due process and concerned about the vulnerability of
pregnant women at the border, the Florence Project requested she be released to the community rather than
sent to Mexico. Border Patrol never responded. Two days later the woman reached out from Nogales,
Sonora seeking aid.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “March 4 Update From KBI”, March 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 25, 2021

“Last week 2 unaccompanied minors were returned to Nogales, Sonora under Title 42, despite guidance that
these individuals should not be subject to expulsion. One of these minors was a 17-year-old Guatemalan girl who a Border Patrol agent accused of lying about her age. BP returned her to Mexico at 8PM, and she was
forced to stay the night outside, until she found help in the morning.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “March 4 Update From KBI”, March 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 17, 2021

“A Guatemalan family (husband, wife and 7-month-old son) entered the United States and were detained. The family left Guatemala after the man’s brother was murdered by an organized crime group. The family was taken to an office near Sasabe, where they were never asked why they fled Guatemala or asked for the documents they had with them as proof of persecution. They were later taken to Tucson, and they were expelled the following day to Nogales, Sonora in the early morning.”

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, No further action

February 15, 2021

To escape the lingering, devastating effects of two hurricanes and the reach of organized crime, Pedro Gomez fled Guatemala in January and headed north, looking for hope.

Thousands of miles south, Jhon Jairo Ushca Alcoser, too, left his country, Ecuador, fleeing political unrest and the economic fallout of a global pandemic that’s ravaged his nation.

For both men, it seemed as if nothing would stand in the way of their cherished dream – certainly not deserts, rivers, unscrupulous smugglers, or the infamous wall they had heard so much about. But then that same wall nearly crippled them. And fhs the U.S. Border Patrol — then “dumped us in Mexico like garbage, a piece of trash,” said Pedro Gomez, 37. They say agents who discovered them injured sent them back across the border rather than providing them medical care on American soil.

It’s not clear why these injured migrants were deported to Mexico, even after both said they told agents they couldn’t walk.

“I couldn’t even get up, so I crawled inside the migra vehicle,” said Gomez, after falling off the wall in late January. At one point, he says he was told he was going to be taken to a U.S. hospital, but instead was dropped off at the border crossing nearly 90 miles from where he fell off the wall near El Paso. His ankles are broken and he cannot walk.

Ushca Alcoser said he told Border Patrol agents he couldn’t move and was “screaming in excruciating pain” after he fell backwards off of a 30-foot section of the wall newly installed during the Trump administration as Border Patrol agents stood in front of him in early February.

But “they said ‘stand up, stand up.’ I don’t know where I found the strength.” He says he was sent back to Mexico, dragging his feet as another migrant held him up. X-Rays later revealed broken tendons and a fractured back and pelvis, Sosa said.

The two men asked their names be used so their accounts of events can be verified.

Separately, a Border Patrol spokesman said the agency does not track injuries related to the wall.

Source: The Dallas Morning, “Injured Migrants Say Border Patrol Sent Them Back to Mexico After They Fell Off Trump’s Wall” February 2021. <https://www.dallasnews.com/news/immigration/2021/02/14/injured-migrants-say-border-patrol-sent-them-back-to-mexico-after-they-fell-off-trumps-wall/>.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status:

February 4, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman and her two children (including a 14-year-old son) fled Guatemala and were detained in the desert upon entry to the US by Border Patrol and taken to the Tucson Station. At the facility, the woman tried to talk to the agents and tell them she could not return to Guatemala because she had suffered violence. The agent said if he allowed her asylum that he would be breaking the law and if he did it for her the agents would have to do it for others. Border Patrol said they had no legal right to seek asylum. They were expelled to Nogales, Sonora. The family was harassed and threatened in Mexico after being expelled.”

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

February 4, 2021

“MARIA PUGA HAS been telling the story for more than a decade now. On May 28, 2010, her husband, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, suffered a brutal and ultimately fatal beating at the hands of U.S. homeland security personnel at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on the southern edge of San Diego.The father of five was hogtied at a secure facility while at least eight agents and officers from the nation’s three border and immigration enforcement agencies punched and kicked him; a crowd of their colleagues circled around and watched. They knelt on his neck and body. Crying out for help, Hernandez was repeatedly tased while handcuffed. He suffered five broken ribs, internal organ hemorrhage, and bruising on his face and torso. He died of cardiac arrest and brain damage three days later. The coroner’s office ruled the case a homicide. Despite the federal agents erasing the video taken by eyewitnesses, the violent episode was caught on film and broadcast on national television. No agents or officers were punished, let alone charged for the killing. Puga has been protesting ever since.”

Source: Ryan Devereaux, “Anatomy of Impunity”: Former Dhs Supervisors Say Border Killing Cover-Up Was Part of a Pattern” (The Intercept, February 4, 2021) <https://theintercept.com/2021/02/04/border-patrol-killing-impunity-iachr/>.

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Use of Force

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 4, 2021

“Twenty-nine individuals subject to Title 42 expulsion over the last two weeks reported abuses at the hands of
Border Patrol Agents, including verbal and physical abuse, nighttime expulsion, not returning belongings,
denial of access to due process for asylum and refusal of medical attention while in BP custody.
7 of the last 14 days, migrants have arrived at our migrant aid center after being expelled between 10PM and
5AM.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “February 4 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Medical Care, Non-Return of Belongings, Use of Force

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

February 3, 2021

“A Salvadoran woman, her husband and two children traveled from El Salvador to Mexico initially to escape threats at home. Soon after, they also received threats in Mexico and decided to flee to the US. They approached the DeConcini port of entry in Nogales. There, an agent shoved the woman who was eight months pregnant in the chest. The woman pleaded with the agent to not turn them back as they were fleeing danger in Mexico. The agents, both male and female, simply laughed at them when they explained the danger and said the family must go back. When the family said they had nowhere to go, the agents said that was not the agents’ problem. They forcibly removed them and took them to the Mexican immigration office at around 10:30 PM. The family slept by the line of cars entering the United States out of fear of navigating Nogales at night.”

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): Dangerous Deportation, Denial of Asylum, Use of Force

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

February 2, 2021

“Border Patrol expelled a group of 43 Central American and Mexican migrants to downtown Nogales Feb.
2nd at 11PM. One Honduran man in the group shared that BP agents did not give them any directives
about where they could go to find shelter, nor were any Mexican officials there to receive them upon arrival.
The group dispersed, and he continued walking with 2 other migrants. They asked a man on the street where
they could find a shelter, and began walking west. As they approached a cemetery, 5 men came toward
them, one with a gun. They men forced them into the cemetery at gunpoint, and told them to take out all their
belongings. The Honduran man pleaded to keep his phone so he could communicate with his family. In
response, one of the assailants began beating him in the ribs and said he would beat him again if he said
another word. The men detained them in the cemetery for an hour before finally letting them go.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “February 4 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

February 1, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman with her two-year-old child, who is fleeing violence, has twice attempted to seek asylum in the United States and been turned away both times without being able to make her case for asylum. The woman has photo evidence of violence that she has faced in Guatemala. She requested asylum the first time she crossed the border, but the agents only listened to the unaccompanied minors in the facility and did not speak to the adults or ask questions. She tried showing agents her documentation to no avail.

“The second time, she and her daughter were taken to two different border facilities, and each time she was denied the opportunity to speak. She said that a man in a black uniform attempted to speak to them but was asked not to by male agents in green uniforms. She was expelled to Nogales, Sonora.”

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, Yuma

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum

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

February 1, 2021

Last week a 23-year-old Salvadoran woman who was 36 weeks pregnant arrived at our migrant aid center
after BP agents expelled her under Title 42. When she was detained, she began to have strong headaches
and was concerned that the stress was causing her to go into premature labor, something that had happened
to her in a previous pregnancy. Border Patrol agents denied her medical attention three times, but she felt
very ill and insisted on seeing a doctor. A Border Patrol agent responded by accusing her of lying, and
threatened that she would face federal criminal charges if she kept causing problems. She continued
insisting, and was finally taken to the hospital, where they discovered she was 2 cm dilated. After her
headaches ceased, they expelled her to Nogales, Sonora, MX.

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “February 4 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL