Organizational Culture Events where the accountability status is “No steps taken”

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

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

August 9, 2021

“[C]onditions at Border Patrol’s Anzalduas Bridge “Temporary Outdoor Processing Site” (TOPS) — a stretch of gravel and grass patches under an international highway in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley — risk the health and safety of the migrants who are detained there.
“…Border Patrol began holding migrants at this outdoor site buried deep on federal property and out of public view on Jan. 23, 2021. It has detained migrants, including families with children, under the Anzalduas Bridge ever since — except for the multiple times when the site, located in a flood plain, has been evacuated due to weather conditions.
“In late June 2021, we joined a brief official tour of the Anzalduas TOPS, during which Border Patrol representatives described the site as being used exclusively to hold families with children under 7 years old. Though we were not allowed to speak with those detained there, what we observed was deeply concerning.
“The temperature was in the 90s. For the dozens of children and adults detained outdoors in the heat, only a fan and a set of overhead sprinklers provided plainly inadequate cooling. At a meeting in May, a Border Patrol representative justified holding families in the South Texas summer heat by egregiously claiming that the conditions are preferable to many migrants, who Border Patrol described as “not used to air conditioning.”
“In addition to having no basic temperature controls, the TOPS has a bare-bones structure that lacks other minimal protections. Families are funneled through a series of outdoor areas surrounded by plastic fencing. We observed them being held in an area with hard benches and gravel as the only places to rest or sleep.
“Border Patrol told us there is no medical staff on site beyond emergency medical personnel, and the nearest paved road to get to medical aid is a five to 10 minute drive away. Border Patrol has even given us conflicting answers about what, if any, detention standards apply to the site. This is particularly troubling since detention standards mandate a “reasonable and comfortable” temperature for those detained — contrary to the very design of the TOPS.
“Just last week in the Rio Grande Valley, we interviewed recently released families with small children who reported that thousands of people were being held at the site. Every family reported spending two or three days under the bridge. Mothers shared that Border Patrol denied their pleas for medical care for sick children and that they experienced miserable conditions in high temperatures.
“The TOPS has also been shrouded in secrecy. There are no telephones for migrants, and, like all Border Patrol facilities, no in-person visits are allowed.
“…Subsequent reporting and our own interviews confirmed that families were being held outdoors under the bridge for multiple days, without adequate access to medical care, subjected to verbal abuse by Border Patrol agents, and suffering from first cold springtime and then hot summer temperatures.”

Source: Shaw Drake, Kate Huddleston, “Border Patrol Must Stop Holding People in an Inhumane Outside Pen Under a Highway in South Texas” (ACLU: August 9, 2021) <https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/border-patrol-must-stop-holding-people-in-an-inhumane-outside-pen-under-a-highway-in-south-texas/>.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

August 3, 2021

On August 3, 2021, two individuals were killed and eight were injured as a result of a vehicle pursuit by Border Patrol near Border Patrol’s permanent interior checkpoint on New Mexico State Road 185. Details of the events surrounding the crash are only available via CBP’s own press release, which the agency did not issue until August 17, 2021, fourteen days after the incident. CBP’s statement initially reported only one death and did not include information about the U.S. citizen who died as a result of the vehicle pursuit and crash.

Early in the morning of August 3, 2021, a Border Patrol agent assigned to the Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S. Border Patrol Station was reportedly patrolling New Mexico State Road 185 approximately six miles south of the Border Patrol checkpoint, which is located approximately 69 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. According to CBP, the agent witnessed a northbound vehicle pull to the side of the road and then proceed north. The Border Patrol agent reportedly followed the vehicle without activating his emergency equipment. The vehicle reportedly evaded the Border Patrol checkpoint by driving onto the southbound lanes of New Mexico State Road 185 and then continued north, at which time the Border Patrol agent activated his emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle. Another Border Patrol unit also reportedly pursued the vehicle. Approximately three miles north of the Border Patrol checkpoint, the vehicle crashed. Several occupants were ejected from the vehicle. The agency’s statement simply claims “the driver lost control and crashed,” but does not indicate the location or conduct of Border Patrol
agents’ vehicles immediately preceding the crash.

Source: ACLU Texas, “ACLU demands Customs and Border Protection investigate recent deadly vehicle pursuit, release vehicle pursuit policy”, August 2021. <https://www.aclutx.org/en/press-releases/aclu-demands-customs-and-border-protection-investigate-recent-deadly-vehicle-pursuit>

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Disregard to Public Health, Weak Oversight

Accountability Status: No steps taken

August 1, 2021

“A Guatemalan man in a group of six entered the United States and  encountered Border Patrol agents. One of the agents pushed one of the men down  with a knee on his back. Another man from the group was running, and the dog the  agents brought with them attacked him and knocked him face down into a cactus.  One of the spines penetrated near his eye, causing his face to bleed. When the man  with eye injury asked for help, the agents said no, and that this is what happens to  people who come here. An agent grabbed the Guatemalan man who filed this  complaint by the back of the neck and shoved him. The agent lunged to try to shove  him again; when he ducked down the agent kept going forward and hurt himself on  the cactus spines. Angered by this, the agent grabbed the Guatemalan man by the  neck. The man said he felt like he was being choked. The Guatemalan man was  injured as he had cactus spines stuck in his legs. He was not allowed to take them  out until the next day. The Guatemalan man’s brother-in-law was also in the group.  He was dehydrated and vomiting. As he lay on the ground, begging for water, an  agent put his foot on the man’s back and then kneeled on him. It was not until they  arrived at a temporary outpost nearly two hours later that they got water. The  group was expelled to Nogales, Sonora the next morning, where Kino then took  them to the hospital.”

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

Sector(s):

Agency(ies): CBP

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

July 22, 2021

“At least five different migrants arriving at our Migrant Aid Center in the last two weeks shared that BP agents have
adopted a manipulative strategy to avoid providing medical attention to migrants in their custody. Officers tell
migrants at one processing center that they will receive medical attention at the next processing center. When
migrants arrive at the next center, agents there tell them the same thing, and the migrants are instead expelled to
Mexico without ever having received medical attention.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “July 22 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

July 4, 2021

“A Salvadoran mother who was detained and expelled on July 4th with her 14-year-old daughter, who is
asthmatic, reported that in the few hours in custody Border Patrol agents at the Nogales Station yelled at
them repeatedly. One agent gathered the group and told everyone “send the message back to everyone
that even if you have asylum cases and even if you have kids there would be no options in the US for you.”
He told them “tell others that you would never triumph in the US.” She and her daughter were quickly
returned to Mexico despite their fear of return and were never given a chance to share additional
information on the persecution that they had fled in El Salvador.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “July 9 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 17, 2021

“Last week, a Honduran father of 5 whose wife is 3 months pregnant was detained by ICE as he and his
family were processed through the consortium process at the downtown Nogales port of entry. The father
does not have any criminal history in the US, and Spanish is the family’s second language, as they are part
of the Garífuna indigenous community in Honduras. As the mother shared in her testimony at the interfaithSaveAsylum event this week, when the father was separated from his family, the CBP officer assured his wife that he would only be detained a day or two, but he has now been separated from his family for over a
week. His wife, who is stranded waiting for her husband’s release at a shelter in Tucson with their 5 children,
attempted to set an appointment to visit her husband at La Palma, but was unable to do so because the
visitation phone system is all in English. She has not received any clarity about when her husband will be
released, and a week after his detention had not been able to make any contact since she does not have
money to put in his commissary.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 24 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP, ICE

Event Type(s): Family Separation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 20, 2021

“A family who attempted crossing in two different Border Patrol sectors reported insultingly dismissive treatment in every interaction they had with Border Patrol agents. Border Patrol agents repeatedly told them, “I don’t care about your problems,” laughed at them and ridiculed them. In one interaction, the agent reportedly said, “What a coincidence. All of you seem to be coming because someone wants to kill you. That’s not my problem.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 24 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 19, 2021

“A woman fleeing with her children from domestic violence reported that Border Patrol agents laughed at one
of her daughters when she told them she was crying because of the abuse she’d suffered. Once the family
was taken to a Border Patrol station, another agent reportedly yelled at the mother after she had expressed
that she could not return to her country for fear of further violence, saying “look, you’re here as a migrant.
You didn’t have a reason for crossing into this country. You’re going back to your country as you arrived, or
worse.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 24 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Abusive Language, Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 15, 2021

“In late June 2021, ACLU representatives joined a brief official tour of the Anzalduas TOPS, during
which Border Patrol representatives described the site as being used exclusively to
hold families with children under 7 years old.

The temperature was in the 90s. For the dozens of children and adults detained
outdoors in the heat, only a fan and a set of overhead sprinklers provided plainly
inadequate cooling. At a meeting in May, a Border Patrol representative justified
holding families in the South Texas summer heat by egregiously claiming that the
conditions are preferable to many migrants, who Border Patrol described as “not
used to air conditioning.”

In addition to having no basic temperature controls, the TOPS has a bare-bones
structure that lacks other minimal protections. Families are funneled through a
series of outdoor areas surrounded by plastic fencing. We observed them being held
in an area with hard benches and gravel as the only places to rest or sleep.

Border Patrol told us there is no medical staff on site beyond emergency medical
personnel, and the nearest paved road to get to medical aid is a five to 10 minute
drive away. Border Patrol has even given us conflicting answers about what, if any,
detention standards apply to the site. This is particularly troubling since detention
standards mandate a “reasonable and comfortable” temperature for those detained
— contrary to the very design of the TOPS.

Just last week in the Rio Grande Valley, we interviewed recently released families
with small children who reported that thousands of people were being held at the

site. Every family reported spending two or three days under the bridge. Mothers
shared that Border Patrol denied their pleas for medical care for sick children and
that they experienced miserable conditions in high temperatures.

The TOPS has also been shrouded in secrecy. There are no telephones for migrants,
and, like all Border Patrol facilities, no in-person visits are allowed. As pictures of a
make-shift outdoor site began to surface earlier this year showing families with
small children sleeping on the ground in corral-like holding areas, we filed a
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking details. We wanted to know
how long people were being held outdoors and how Border Patrol was ensuring the
safety of those in custody. Over four months later, the agency still hasn’t responded
to our FOIA request.

Subsequent reporting and our own interviews confirmed that families were being
held outdoors under the bridge for multiple days, without adequate access to
medical care, subjected to verbal abuse by Border Patrol agents, and suffering from
first cold springtime and then hot summer temperatures.”

Source: ACLU, “Border Patrol Must Stop Holding People in an Inhumane Outside Pen Under a Highway in South Texas”, August 2021. <https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/border-patrol-must-stop-holding-people-in-an-inhumane-outside-pen-under-a-highway-in-south-texas/>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Medical Care, Disregard to Public Health

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 10, 2021

“A woman from Mexico and her four children, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, presented themselves at the port
of entry and asked for asylum. The officers present informed them that they had to come to KBI to be
granted asylum, when an NGO clearly has no such authority. Unbelievably, this is only one of multiple
instances in which US authorities have told asylum seekers to come to KBI for asylum.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 10, 2021

“One woman fleeing with her seven-year-old daughter from violence in Honduras attempted to cross into the
U.S. and ask for asylum several times. The first few times, she was hastily returned to Nogales, Sonora. On
her final attempt, she and her daughter were kidnapped by their smuggler and held and tortured for over two
weeks until her family could pay their ransom.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oSZtJx1CNSXShFCySEkR5b7ruSn4LbuT/view?usp=sharing>

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 9, 2021

“Over a dozen migrants who have arrived at KBI in the past two weeks have reported being deported
at night, between 10PM and 5AM. A Mexican man who could not sustain himself economically decided to try to cross into the United States for work. After spending several days in the desert and running out of water, he was apprehended by Border Patrol and returned to Nogales, Sonora at 11PM. He arrived at our center the following morning dehydrated. Despite the difficulty, he wished to attempt another crossing the following day, seeing no other option for livelihood.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 7, 2021

“A man arriving at our center reported watching from a distance as Border Patrol agents emptied the water
bottles belonging to the apprehended members of his group. Dehydrated, he continued walking in the desert
alone until he encountered another group of Border Patrol agents who physically assaulted him and mocked
his dehydrated state, refusing to give him water until they arrived at a Border Patrol station.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Food or Water, Use of Force

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 6, 2021

“While some migrants apprehended at night have reported being detained overnight and deported the
following morning, one woman who arrived at our center reported that after turning herself in to Border Patrol
in the desert, she was detained overnight then still released into Sonora the following night. By holding
the woman overnight in a congregate setting and then expelling her over 24 hours later, Border Patrol makes
it clear that nighttime expulsions are not, as they have claimed, for the purpose of avoiding the spread of
COVID through prolonged detention in CBP custody.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation

Accountability Status: No steps taken

June 5, 2021

“A Guatemalan man fled to the U.S. after receiving death threats from extortionists because the medical care
for his sick mother left him without enough money to pay them. While attempting to cross into the U.S., he
called 911 repeatedly for help after spending 10 days in the desert and being abandoned by his group
because of his extremely blistered feet. When nobody came for him, he made it to the highway around
midnight and encountered a Border Patrol agent, who made him sleep in the bed of the patrol truck overnight
in the cold.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “June 10 Update From KBI”, June 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody

Accountability Status: No steps taken

April 5, 2021

“A Guatemalan man entered the United States in a group of three and  was met by five Border Patrol agents. The agent had dogs and the man was afraid of  dogs, so he ran and hid so that the dogs would not bite him. Then the agent  forcefully grabbed him by the back of the neck and handcuffed him to other  detained migrants. The agents were screaming in English, but the Guatemalan man  did not understand English. The man complained that the handcuffs were too tight, but the agents did not respond. The agent’s dog ran between the three immigrants, causing one to fall first and take the others down with him. The Guatemalan man  who made this complaint fell on his wrist and his handcuffs got tighter. He asked  again that they loosen the handcuffs but there was no response. His right wrist was  bruised for days after he was expelled.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies):

Event Type(s): Use of Force

Accountability Status: No steps taken

March 4, 2021

“On several occasions, rather than transport migrants to other locations where they can access services, CBP
has simply dropped off migrants in parking lots in Yuma. Since many of these migrants have traveled
distances in the desert, they are often being abandoned with injuries, including a young man who Border
Patrol left alone at a bus station with a recently amputated foot.”

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

Sector(s): Yuma

Agency(ies): CBP

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

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