April 15, 2020

An investigation by the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties and ACLU Border Rights Center reports:

“A detainee locator system allows family members, lawyers, and other advocates to pinpoint exactly where a particular person is being held.[31] Typically, the use of such a system requires knowledge of the detainee’s country of origin and “alien number” (“A number”), or their exact full name, country of origin and date of birth. Unlike ICE, CBP has never implemented a detainee locator system, nor does it facilitate visitation or communications with family or lawyers. CBP’s refusal to do these things aggravates the harms that stem from the agency’s practice of separating family members through processing and detention. Although ICE’s system is far from perfect, advocates and families rely on it to locate their clients and loved ones.”

“[31]: As CBP has recognized, “[t]he intent of creating a [detainee locator system] is to provide the general public with an accessible system that would allow the public to conduct online Internet-based queries to locate persons detained by CBP for administrative and/or criminal violations.” U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, ONLINE DETAINEE LOCATOR SYSTEM (FY2017 Report to Congress), ii (Dec. 4, 2017) [hereinafter “CBP Detainee Locator Report”], https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CBP%20- %20Online%20Detainee%20Locator%20System_0.pdf.”

Source: ACLU Foundation San Diego and Imperial Counties, ACLU Border Rights Center, “Separation of Families via CBP Detention and Processing, and the Agency’s Refusal to Implement a Detainee Locator System” (San Diego and El Paso, April 15, 2020) <https://cbpabusestest2.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/2020-04-15-dhs-oig-cmplt-3-final.pdf>.

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Family Separation

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG