Organizational Culture Events

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

October 24, 2021

CNN reports that Texas authorities are forcing migrants onto private property in order to arrest them for trespassing.

[Body-worn camera] video that, Martinez [David Martinez, the Val Verde County Attorney in charge of prosecuting misdemeanors] says, appears to show a Texas state trooper directing the migrants onto the private property before arresting one of them for trespass.
Martinez said he rejected the case.
…Martinez has more. He pulls a file he says contains the cases of 11 other migrants who alleged that law enforcement zip-tied them in pairs, walked them about 20 minutes and made them scale a 10-foot fence. They were later arrested by state troopers for criminal trespassing, documents show.

Source: Rosa Flores, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Anti-Migrant Plan: Many Arrested, Many Detained, Few Prosecuted (CNN, Monday, October 25, 2021) https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/24/us/texas-migrant-trespass-detentions/index.html.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Texas State Police

Event Type(s): Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension

Accountability Status: Unknown

October 24, 2021

CNN reports about migrants arrested for “trespassing” by Texas state police, then imprisoned for months without being charged or having access to counsel:

The man was held in jail for 52 days before he was charged with the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass, his attorney says. For 43 of those days — more than six weeks — he had no access to a lawyer, he told CNN. And the man said there were long gaps, sometimes two weeks, when he was not allowed to make any phone call to tell his wife how he was.

…two migrants who talked to CNN last week said they knew several men in their jail pods who had been waiting up to three months to talk to a lawyer.
One said the unrepresented men begged the others to raise their cases.
“‘Ask about us. Tell them we have 90 days, 80 days and we haven’t seen an attorney. We don’t know anything and here we are,’” he says he is told.
CNN raised the concerns with the TIDC [Texas Indigent Defense Commission]. The commission said it then located at least one person arrested in May and held in jail who did not have a lawyer. That person was assigned counsel Thursday night.

Source: Rosa Flores, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Anti-Migrant Plan: Many Arrested, Many Detained, Few Prosecuted (CNN, Monday, October 25, 2021) <https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/24/us/texas-migrant-trespass-detentions/index.html>.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Texas State Police

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Access to Counsel

Accountability Status: Unknown

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

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, Unknown

October 13, 2021

“A Fernando y su familia, el sueño americano se les había terminado cuando apenas empezaba. Según nos cuenta, ellos y unas 150 personas más, fueron obligados a caminar desde la frontera hasta la ciudad de McAllen, Texas. Caminaron unas dos horas y luego abordaron un bus que los condujo a las famosas hieleras, así les llaman los migrantes a los centros de detención, cuya característica es la de ser muy fríos. Ahí permanecieron cuatro días.

“Durante permanecieron en las «hieleras» tenían que bañarse a las 2 a. m. Fernando dice que sus niñas se enfermaron de las vías respiratorias. Como alimento recibían tortillas de harina y lechuga. Antes de entrar al centro de detención les pidieron el contacto y dirección de las personas que los esperaban en el gran país del norte. «Supuestamente les iban a llamar para que nos fueran a recoger, pero de ahí para allá no hubo nada, nos tuvieron cuatro días en la hielera sin saber nada», nos contó.

“El miércoles 13 de octubre, Fernando y su familia fueron llamados a una sala donde habían otras personas. Asegura que incluso llamaron a sus familiares y él pensaba que ya iba a reunirse con ellos. Los subieron a un bus, fueron llevados al aeropuerto en Mcallen y una vez en el avión Fernando sabía que algo no andaba bien. Preguntaron a los oficiales de migración qué pasaba y ellos contestaron que no sabían: «Cuando menos lo esperé el avión aterrizó y vimos que en el aeropuerto decía bienvenidos a Villa Hermosa».

“Una vez aterrizaron en la ciudad antes mencionada, jurisdicción del Estado de Tabasco, los migrantes reclamaban por qué eran dejados en suelo mexicano si no eran oriundos de ese país. En el aeropuerto los recogió migración de México y abordaron un nuevo bus, en el que viajaron a Corinto, frontera de Guatemala y Honduras. «Nos han traído a puro pan y agua», comenta Fernando tocándose el estómago. «Nos trajeron engañados porque supuestamente íbamos para donde nuestra familia, hasta les llamaron. Ahorita se sorprendieron cuando les dije que estaba en Honduras, pude llamar porque ya nos devolvieron los teléfonos», agrega.”

Source: Allan Bu, “En la Madrugada, e Ignorados por el Estado, Llegan a Corinto Miles de Hondurenos Deportados” (Contra Corriente, October 18, 2021) <https://contracorriente.red/2021/10/15/en-la-madrugada-e-ignorados-por-el-estado-llegan-a-corinto-miles-de-hondurenos-deportados>.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken