Organizational Culture Events where the accountability status is “Complaint filed with OPR”

September 21, 2021

“In the past few days, a large number of migrants—primarily Haitian and seeking asylum and other protection in the United States—have crossed into Del Rio, Texas, to await processing by DHS at a processing center located under an international bridge. On September 18, DHS announced a plan to address the increased number of migrants awaiting immigration processing in the area and began removing some Haitians to their home country the following day.[2] The same day, Border Patrol agents mounted on horseback sought to stop Haitian migrants on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande from entering the encampment, charging families and individuals on the river bank and using abusive language against at least one family.[3] Extensive video and photo documentation shows appalling use of force by agents against migrants. For example, one image shows a mounted Border Patrol agent grabbing a man by the shirt has he stands bare foot with his hands full of food.[4] Video footage showed horse mounted agents again engaging migrants on the banks of the river and in one instance nearly trampling a young child.[5] Another video shows a Border Patrol agent on horseback hitting the water near one man with his lariat before knocking the man back into the water with his horse.[6] The man is carrying what appear to be containers of food.

“On September 20, during a press conference U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul L. Ortiz confirmed that Border Patrol Horse Patrol units remain a part of the agency’s “security response.” While Chief Ortiz claimed agents on horseback do not know who coming across the river “are the smugglers and who are the migrants,” videos show mounted agents riding up to families with small children and individuals carrying bags of food. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas went on to claim that long reins seen in footage are used to “ensure control of the horses.”[7]

“…The Constitution prohibits the use of excessive force[12] and requires that use of force by law enforcement be proportional to a threat and escalated only in response to that threat.[13] CBP’s own Use of Force policy also only permits the use of “a reasonable amount of force” when an individual’s entry presents an “imminent threat” to officers, agents, or others.[14]

“Video footage of Border Patrol’s actions in this incident clearly demonstrate that the migrants being encountered by mounted agents did not present an imminent threat. In one video an agent stops a family with small children, makes derogatory and xenophobic comments to the family, and then maneuvers his horse in a way that comes dangerously close to trampling a child.[15] Other footage shows agents wielding lariats and maneuvering their horses in a menacing fashion against individuals carrying food back to the encampment in the United States, traffic across the river the agency was undoubtedly aware of prior to deploying mounted units to the U.S. riverbank.

“In one video, a mounted Border Patrol agent is heard stating “This is why your country’s shit, because you use your women for this!”[16] CBP’s National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (“TEDS”) requires agents to “speak and act with the utmost integrity and professionalism,” “treat all individuals with dignity and respect,” and “perform their duties in a nondiscriminatory manner.”[17] Agents simply did not uphold those standards in this instance.

“Further, DHS policy requires that all agency components–including CBP–“shall have appropriate written policies and procedures regarding the use of authorized control tactics or techniques; authorized less-lethal devices; and necessary training and certifications—both initial and recurring.”[18] Nevertheless, CBP’s Use of Force policy does not include guidelines for the use of mounted horse patrol, despite their potential for causing lethal or non-lethal harm. In fact, Border Patrol’s Horse Patrol Program is consistently described by the agency as necessary for accessing terrain in accessible by vehicles, not as a tool of deterrence or use of force against migrants.[19] CBP’s publicly available policy materials also do not indicate that mounted agents receive crowd control training for a use in the manner seen here.”

[2] DHS Outlines Strategy to Address Increase in Migrants in Del Rio, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Sept. 18, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/09/18/dhs-outlines-strategy-address-increase-migrants-del-rio; Molly Hennessy-Fiske, U.S. begins removing Haitian migrants, but they continue to flock to Texas border, LOS ANGELES TIMES, Sept. 19, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-09-19/haitian-migrants-continue-to-flock-to-texas-border-some-flown-back-to-homeland-by-u-s.
[3] AFP News Agency, @AFP on Twitter, Sept. 19, 2021, 7:30 PM, https://twitter.com/afp/status/1439763779688882180.
[4] Id.
[5] See Daina Beth Solomon and Alberto Fajardo, “Trapped”: Migrants collecting food try to evade law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border, REUTERS, Sept. 20, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/trapped-migrants-collecting-food-try-evade-law-enforcement-us-mexico-border-2021-09-20/; Al Jazeera English, Haitian migrants undeterred as US begins removal flights, YouTube, Sept. 21, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFnKJqcPks.
[6] Sawyer Hackett, @SawyerHackett on Twitter, Sept. 20, 2021, 10:25 AM, https://twitter.com/SawyerHackett/status/1439989195871825921?s=20.
[7] NowThis News, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Holds a Press Briefing at U.S.-Mexico Border, YouTube, Sept. 20, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7kF0PUDdfM.
[12] See generally, U.S. Const. Amend. IV and VIII.
[13] Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 388, 109 S. Ct. 1865, 1867, 104 L. Ed. 2d 443 (1989); see also Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 3, 105 S. Ct. 1694, 1697, 85 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1985).
[14] See CBP, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (herein after “CBP”), 4500-002A, CBP Use of Force Policy, Jan. 2021, https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2021-Jul/cbp-use-of-force- policy_4500-002A.pdf at Chap. 3(A)(6), page 13.
[15] Al Jazeera English, Haitian migrants undeterred as US begins removal flights, YouTube, Sept. 21, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFnKJqcPks.
[16] John Holman, @johnholman100 on Twitter, Sept. 20, 2021, 7:43 AM, https://twitter.com/johnholman100/status/1439948289680363527?s=20.
[17] U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, NAT’L STANDARDS ON TRANSPORT, ESCORT, DETENTION, AND SEARCH, at §§ 1.2 (Integrity and Professionalism) & 1.4 (Non-Discrimination Policy) (Oct. 2015), https://www.cbp.gov/document/directives/cbp-national-standards-transport-escort-detention-and-search.
[18] U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Department Policy on Use of Force, Policy Statement 044-05, Sept. 7, 2018, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/mgmt/law- enforcement/mgmt-dir_044-05-department-policy-on-the-use-of-force.pdf.
[19] See e.g., U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, What We Do, Last modified: June 21, 2021, https://www.cbp.gov/careers/usbp-what-we-do.

Source: Shaw Drake, Kathryn Huddleston, “Re: U.S. Border Patrol’s use of horses and verbal abuse against migrants in Del Rio, TX” (ACLU, September 21, 2021) <https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/aclu_tx_cbp_oig_letter_re_border_patrol_in_del_rio.pdf>.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Use of Force

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

August 15, 2021

“On August 15, 2021, Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) assigned to the Yuma Border Patrol Station apprehended a group of 27 migrants approximately 1000 feet from the United States-Mexico border near County 8 ½ and Salinity Canal in Yuma, AZ. The BPAs noticed one of the migrants, a male Nicaraguan citizen, was exhibiting signs of heat-related distress. The BPAs requested medical assistance from a local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: Nicaraguan
Cause of Death: Medical
Incident Date: August 15, 2021
Incident Location: Yuma, AZ

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Yuma

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter

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

August 7, 2021

“On August 7, 2021, at approximately 7:09 PM, a Jeep Liberty fled eastbound on State Road 86 (SR 86) after circumventing the primary inspection area of the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint located near Three Points, AZ. Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) assigned to the Tucson Border Patrol Station travelled eastbound on SR 86 attempting to locate the vehicle. A CBP Air and Marine Operations (AMO) helicopter crew responded to the area and located the vehicle travelling eastbound on SR 86. The AMO helicopter crew provided aerial surveillance of the vehicle providing updates as to its location to BPAs on the ground. The AMO pilot observed the Jeep Liberty drive erratically through several red lights as it continued into Tucson, AZ. The vehicle then entered onto northbound I-19, which is approximately 24 miles east of the SR 86 checkpoint.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: Unknown
Cause of Death: Fatal Car Chase
Incident Date: August 7, 2021
Incident Location: Marana, AZ

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter, Vehicle Pursuit

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

August 5, 2021

“On August 5, 2021, Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) responded to reported migrant traffic in a rural area approximately three miles southeast of Rio Grande City, TX, and approximately less than a mile north of the United States – Mexico border. BPAs arrived at the location and discovered a male citizen from El Salvador in medical distress. The BPAs immediately requested emergency medical services (EMS). Due to the remoteness of the location where BPAs discovered the man, they transported him to a nearby location that was more easily accessible to EMS.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: El Salvador 
Cause of Death: Medical
Incident Date: August 05, 2021
Incident Location: Rio Grande, TX

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter

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

August 2, 2021

“On August 2, 2021, Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) were alerted to the presence of a group of suspected undocumented migrants inside a ranch approximately 17 miles south of Eagle Pass, Texas near Highway 277. BPAs assigned to the Eagle Pass South (EGS) Border Patrol Station responded and began tracking the group of migrants. After approximately nine hours of tracking the group, BPAs located and apprehended seven migrants while several other individuals fled. BPAs continued to search for these individuals.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: El Salvador
Cause of Death: Unknown
Incident Date: August 02, 2021
Incident Location: Eagle Pass, TX

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter

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

July 30, 2021

“A Honduran man, wife and daughter entered the United States and were detained in [across from] Reynosa. They told the agents who detained them that they wanted to seek asylum. The agents said “no,” that there was nothing the agents could do for them; however, the agents asked the family to write down their names. The family was taken under a bridge, where they were told to sleep outdoors, on the concrete. They were not given food or water for 10 hours. There were several hundred other migrants under the bridge with no access to running water. All the migrants were confined in a small space where they could touch each other. There were three toilets (port-o-potties) for several hundred migrants. There were no facilities for them to bathe under the bridge. On the fourth day, the family was flown to Tucson where they were finally able to wash themselves, though they were detained there for four days and only allowed to wash that one time. In Tucson, they asked again to be considered for asylum but were again told no. The agents also shouted at the immigrants asking them to shut their kids up. The agents told the family that since they came to the US illegally, they had no right to asylum, and that they should attempt to seek asylum at the nearby port of entry. From there, they 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): Rio Grande Valley, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum

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

July 30, 2021

“A Guatemalan man who has been in the United States since 2005 was detained in the desert while trying to pick up his wife. He went to pick her up, but  they got lost in the desert. Eventually they called 911 for help. The Pima County  Sheriff’s officer then detained them. Border Patrol arrived at the scene, and they  were then handed over to them. Despite having a work permit, which he tried to  present to agents, he was not allowed to leave the checkpoint. He was not crossing  the border. CBP officers then forced him to sign a document and put him in a vehicle  and they told him he was going to be expelled under Title 42. He was expelled in Nogales.”

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): Inappropriate Deportation

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

July 24, 2021

“On July 24, 2021, Border Patrol Agents (BPAs) assigned to the Harlingen, Texas, Border Patrol station apprehended two undocumented migrants near Highway 77. One of the migrants, a citizen of Honduras, told the BPAs he was not feeling well and displayed flu-like symptoms. The man was evaluated by a Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technician and was admitted to a hospital in Kingsville, TX, that day. On July 31, 2021, the man was pronounced deceased by hospital personnel.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: Honduran 
Cause of Death: Medical
Incident Date: July 24, 2021
Incident Location: Harlingen, TX

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter

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

July 23, 2021

“A Honduran man, his wife, and daughter entered the United States near McAllen, Texas where they were detained. They were kept under an overpass with hundreds of other migrants. The agents took their temperatures and biometric data. There was a medical tent, but the family could not get medical attention. Their infant daughter became sick while they were there. Although they asked for medical attention for their baby, the agents refused to provide any. They were held there for three days. This family was exposed to the elements and went without basic necessities like running water, beds to sleep in, etc. They were only fed twice a day. Border Patrol would periodically call names to board buses; if you missed your name, you had to wait until next time they came to call your name. Because of this, people chose to remain awake rather than risk missing their chance to leave. The father recalls the brutal sleep deprivation this caused. After three days the Border Patrol transferred them to a facility. At the facility the agents confiscated all their belongings (clothes, medicine, diapers, phone chargers, etc.). They were not given anything to eat at the facility for the whole day. The father was temporarily separated from his wife and daughter and placed in a separate holding facility with about fifty others, who had been at the facility for some time. Eventually, the agents took down details of the family members they had in the US and told them they could leave once their family members had paid for their travel. This was a lie. The family was instead taken to the airport and flown to Tucson, AZ and then 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): Rio Grande Valley, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care, Family Separation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Non-Return of Belongings

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

July 5, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman, her sister (19), brother, and son entered the United States and were all detained by border patrol. At that time the agent was very nice to them and gave them water and took them to a Border Patrol station. They were subsequently moved to Tucson. There, CBP processed the sister first, and a female CBP agent reached into her sister’s shirt and grabbed sister’s documents from her bra. Her brother was separated from them, and she did not have any information about his whereabouts as of July 10. She was never told why they separated her brother from her. She was also then separated from her sister, who CBP says tried to escape them while they were walking in the desert. The woman told agents several times that her sister had not tried to escape apprehension and that they had been together the whole time. The officers told her “You are not in your country. We are in charge here.” In the facility, the staff at the station refused to give them blankets. In the early morning, she was reunited with her sister on a bus. She tried several times to tell them she was seeking asylum, but no one listened. CBP kept telling them that this was their country, and they were in charge. The woman, her sister, and son were expelled 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): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Family Separation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

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

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

June 23, 2021

“On June 23, a Border Patrol Agent driving a marked Border Patrol vehicle spotted people jumping into the bed of a white pickup truck, approximately 300 yards from the Rio Grande in Laredo, TX.  The pickup immediately left the area at a high rate of speed, causing several people to fall from the vehicle. The BPA radioed to additional BPAs in the area as he attempted to catch up with the white pickup truck.  The BPA lost sight of the vehicle and radioed to other agents notifying them that he could not locate the vehicle.

The pickup collided into a SUV at the intersection of Main Avenue and Jefferson Street, approximately 16 blocks northwest of the BPA’s location.  Border Patrol EMTs, Laredo Fire Department Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Laredo Police Department (LPD) responded to the scene of the collision. No Border Patrol units were pursuing the white pickup truck at the time of the crash.  The first Border Patrol unit arrived on the scene within a minute and came from the opposite direction without its lights and sirens activated.

Two unidentified occupants of the pickup truck were declared deceased on scene and eight occupants of the pickup were severely injured.  On June 25, 2021, a third unidentified occupant of the pickup passed away at the University Hospital in San Antonio, TX.

This incident is being reviewed by the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and is being investigated by the Laredo Police Department.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: Unknown
Cause of Death: Car chase (Vehicle collision) 
Incident Date: June 23, 2021
Incident Location: Laredo, TX

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Laredo

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter, Vehicle Pursuit

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with OPR

June 17, 2021

“On June 17, 2021, a Border Patrol Agent (BPA) observed two suspected undocumented migrants getting into a vehicle along Arizona State Route 85 (SR 85), approximately one and a half miles north of the Lukeville, AZ Port of Entry.  Approximately 20 miles north of where the suspected undocumented migrants entered the vehicle, another BPA waiting on SR 85, activated his emergency lights and sirens and attempted to stop the vehicle.  The vehicle did not stop and continued for approximately one mile, where another BPA deployed a vehicle immobilization device (VID) across the roadway.  The driver of the suspected smuggling vehicle attempted to avoid running over the VID and subsequently lost control and crashed.

One of the two undocumented migrants in the vehicle, a male citizen of Mexico, was in critical condition and was transported to the Abrazo West Medical Center in Goodyear, AZ where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries on June 19, 2021.

This incident is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and reviewed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility.  The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was also notified of the incident.”

Unknown
Age: Unknown
Nationality: Mexico
Cause of Death: Car chase (Vehicle collision) 
Incident Date: June 19, 2021
Incident Location: ≈

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter, Vehicle Pursuit

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with OPR, 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

April 29, 2021


On April 29, 2021, at approximately 1:00 PM CST, two migrants were run over by a Border Patrol vehicle in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas.  One migrant, a male Honduran national, died on the scene as a result of his injuries.  Another migrant was transferred to a hospital in Harlingen, Texas via air ambulance and was discharged later in the day after medical personnel determined he did not suffer any serious injuries. 

At the time of the incident, BPAs were patrolling an area known for smuggling activity when they observed fresh footprints believed to belong to migrants passing through the area.  BPAs on foot and in vehicles continued to search the area which was covered with extremely thick and tall grass interspersed with groves of taller vegetation.  As they searched, two groups of migrants emerged from different groves and were apprehended by BPAs.  A third group of migrants who were burrowed in the tall grass also emerged and informed the BPAs of another individual who had been run over by a vehicle.  When BPAs located this individual, he informed them that he and another migrant were run over by a Border Patrol vehicle while they were burrowed next to each other in the grass.  The individual helped BPAs find the second migrant at which time a BPA Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on the scene immediately attended to the migrants.  BPAs requested an air ambulance for one migrant and determined the other migrant succumbed to his injuries. The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified of the incident. This Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP OPR) both responded to the scene and are reviewing this incident.

Source: CBP, “Honduran National Dies of Vehicle Incident Near Kingsville, Texas”, May 2021. <https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/speeches-and-statements/honduran-national-dies-vehicle-incident-near-kingsville-texas>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with OPR

April 25, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman and her two-year-old son were detained shortly after entering the United States. They were apprehended by CBP in the desert and transported to a facility. They were processed but never asked why she came or if she feared going back. After that, she was transported to another facility in a crowded, hot, suffocating bus with other migrants. The migrants were finding it hard to breathe, but the bus was travelling at high speed and agents could not hear them knocking for help. After 30 minutes, they got the agents’ attention, and the agents turned on the air. Once they arrived at the next facility, they were held in a very cold room. Some of the women in the facility were called into an office to be interviewed privately. This woman was not. Agents never inquired why she had come to the United States. She didn’t realize she was being expelled until she was already travelling in CBP transport to the border. She and her son were expelled the same day to Mexico and given no information as to why they were being expelled. She had decided to leave Guatemala because of threats from an organized crime group that had also physically beat her.”

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): CBP

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

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

April 24, 2021

“On April 15, 2021, remote cameras monitored by the Border Patrol, near Hebbronville, TX, captured a Toyota Tacoma containing multiple people laying down in the bed of the vehicle. The initial investigation revealed Border Patrol Agents responded to the area, located the vehicle, and initiated a traffic stop. When the vehicle stopped, agents witnessed several occupants flee while one occupant remained inside. Border Patrol agents gave commands to the man to exit the vehicle but he did not respond. The Texas Department of Public Safety arrived and provided assistance to the agents. When the agents approached the Toyota, they found a man in medical distress. A Border Patrol Emergency Medical Technician provided medical care and notified Duval County EMS which transported the man to the Christus Spohn Hospital in Alice, TX, where he was pronounced dead. No other occupants from the vehicle were apprehended. The identity and nationality of the deceased male has not yet been determined. This incident is under review by the Nueces County Medical Examiner and the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility. The DHS Office of Inspector General was notified of the incident.”

Unknown
Age: 29
Nationality: Unknown
Cause of Death: Medical distress (Medical)
Incident Date: April 24, 2021
Incident Location: Hebbronville, TX

Source: Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), “Fatal Encounters with CBP Since 2010,” <https://www.southernborder.org/deaths_by_border_patrol>

Sector(s): Laredo

Agency(ies):

Event Type(s): Fatal Encounter

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with OPR

April 17, 2021

“A Salvadoran woman, her 10-year-old daughter, 1-year-old son, brother, cousin, and cousin’s daughter, entered the United States on April 17, 2021. They saw a Border Patrol truck arriving and waited for it to arrive so they could ask for asylum. The Border Patrol agent who got out of the truck was enraged. He pulled a gun on the mother and family. He berated them, calling them “damned criminals,” “rats,” “terrorists,” and “criminals,” as they cried and asked for asylum. He spoke English and Spanish but spoke Spanish poorly, but the Salvadoran woman said she understood enough. He continued to pull his gun on them even though they were not posing any threat to his safety. They were unarmed and with children. She believed that he was going to kill them. Then, another agent arrived and calmed the first agent down. Other agents and vehicles arrived to transport them. She told those agents that they were seeking asylum, but they said they didn’t speak Spanish. Once they were transported to an open-air outpost, she asked the agents there for asylum and got the same answer. Then they were transported to a permanent building where they were inspected by a doctor. She told the doctor she wanted seek asylum and he just said good luck. At the facility, she told several more agents she wanted to seek asylum. Despite telling 7 or 8 different agents that they were hoping to seek asylum in the United States, they were repeatedly told that no one spoke Spanish and were never given a fear assessment. They were all 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, Use of Force

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

April 2, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman crossed into the United States walking through the desert. She became ill and fainted. When she came to, a Border Patrol Agent was standing over her. She was taken to an outpost and processed. There, she told the agents about the violence she had faced, and that she had proof of threats she had received. The agent said he didn’t speak Spanish but that she should take it up with officers at the next station. In Tucson, she was made to remove her outerwear (her jacket and two shirts and a pair of pants) even though the facility was cold. She was sent into room with a TV, and on the TV screen it said that if anyone was experiencing violence, they should speak to an agent. She then called the agents and said she wanted to apply for asylum. They told her that was unavailable because of the pandemic. The agents started yelling at her that she should have gone to a port of entry if she wanted asylum, and that she was breaking the law by coming this way. They said to her that she was doing what the mafia does, crossing the border illegally. Additionally, officers threw the name of her abuser in her face and taunted her, telling her they were going to call him. She felt humiliated by the agent’s actions. By this time, she had had three separate agents decline to help her apply for asylum. She was expelled to Mexico the next 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): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum

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