Organizational Culture Events

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

May 16, 2021

“A Mexican man presented himself at the DeConcini Port of Entry  seeking asylum several times over a period of two days. He received threats that  made him believe his life was in danger and even survived an attempted kidnapping  in Nogales. On May 16, he ran toward the port of entry, near where cars were  crossing because he was afraid of his pursuers. CBP officers apprehended him there. He was punched, kicked, and beaten by about twelve officers. He told them that he  wanted asylum because there were people in Mexico who were trying to kill him.  CBP did not give him an opportunity to talk to anyone else and he was immediately  expelled back to Mexico. CBP called the Mexican police, who never came. They then  called the Mexican Red Cross to take him to the General Hospital of Nogales in  Sonora. The hospital did not take care of his wounds. When released from the  hospital, he tried again to enter the United States at the port of entry because people were following him. He tried asking for asylum to the 9 agents who detained him.  However, the agents told him he had no right to be in the United States and asked  him to be silent. The agents then took him to a room and questioned him but did not  ask him about asylum. He was then expelled back to Mexico again.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

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

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

May 14, 2021

Sheriff’s officials on Tuesday identified the 26-year-old San Diego resident whom Border Patrol agents fatally shot last week following a pursuit in Campo.

Three agents opened fire on Silvestre Vargas Estrada just before 10:30 p.m. Friday, shooting him through the windshield of the car he was driving, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Thomas Seiver said. The incident happened near a gas station on Campo Road and Buckman Springs Road.

Two passengers in the car — Mexican men suspected of entering the country illegally — were uninjured, officials said.

Source: San Diego Union Tribune, “Authorities ID San Diego man shot, killed by Border Patrol agents”, May 2021. <https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/story/2021-05-18/authorities-id-san-diego-man-shot-killed-by-border-patrol-agents>

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with OPR

May 11, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman traveling with her son and brother were detained by Border Patrol once they entered the United States and processed at an open-air border facility. At the open-air facility, they did not ask them why they were in the US or give them a chance to claim asylum. There, she was separated from her brother. She was told this was because he was a minor and not her son. She told the agent she had a power of attorney paper signed by her mother to care for her brother and presented the papers. They didn’t accept the papers. They transferred them to Tucson. The three of them had fled Guatemala because of the murder of family members. In the Tucson facility, she could see her brother detained separately with the other minors. That was the last time she saw her brother as of the time this complaint was filed. At the Tucson facility, she told an agent she was afraid to return to Guatemala and she tried to show documentation of violence, the death certificates of her family members killed by organized crime. The CBP agent told her that her documents were likely fake because she comes from a “corrupt” country. In addition, the CBP agents said that every day, immigrants come to the facility with this type of paperwork. She tried to persuade him to look up the names of the murders online so he could see she was telling him the truth and the documents were real. He did not. She and her son were 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

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Denial of Asylum, Family Separation

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