April 15, 2021

“A Cuban mother who crossed into the US to seek asylum during the summer of 2020 was returned to
Nogales, Sonora despite her son’s severe autism, which includes self-harm and difficulty tending to basic
needs like eating and using the restroom. Because no port has been designated for processing MPP in
Nogales and DHS has not put forth a pathway for processing particularly vulnerable individuals out of MPP,
this mother and her sons were first refused designation as a vulnerable case that should be prioritized, and
then asked by UNHCR to travel to Tijuana for processing. When our partners at The Florence Project
advocated for the family to be processed locally, CBP officials initially refused, citing that logistics would be
too difficult. This, despite the fact that the mother’s husband, a legal permanent resident in the US, lives in
Tucson, and the prospect of unnecessarily subjecting a severely autistic child to a 13-hour bus ride from
Nogales to Tijuana. The family was able to be processed in Nogales only after weeks of advocacy by The
Florence Project and collaborative effort from various government stakeholders.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “April 15 Update From KBI”, April 2021. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lw3sTn0rVUN0YEpJquEhaJKRdplKFeV3/view?usp=sharing>

Sector(s): San Diego, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: Unknown