Organizational Culture Events where the event type is “Conditions in Custody” where the accountability status is “Complaint filed with CRCL”

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 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 23, 2021

“ICE continues to fail to take necessary public health measures, including releasing qualified individuals, and
therefore Arizona immigration detention centers remain hotbeds for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Migrants continue to raise concerns about their inability to socially isolate, lack of access to PPE and
cleaning materials (including soap), and lack of access to nutritious meals. Those who are in medical
isolation complain they are only allowed out of their cell for 20 minutes a day and often are forced to choose
between showering and calling legal service providers.

Migrants’ access to mail and the library has impacted their ability to defend their own cases pro se, in
particular with looming, inflexible deadlines in front of the BIA. Hearings in immigration court remain
unpredictable and susceptible to last minute cancellation due to the pandemic. Defense attorneys are often
not notified until the last moment or during hearings that their clients will not be able to attend.

On April 20, 2020, a Federal District Court granted a nationwide injunction requiring ICE to make speedy
custody redeterminations for detained individuals whose specific medical conditions put them at higher risk
of suffering severe illness or death if they contract COVID-19. In Arizona detention centers, ICE has not only
failed to proactively release many of these individuals but has also failed to respond to humanitarian parole
requests submitted on their behalf. For example, numerous medically vulnerable Florence Project clients
have submitted humanitarian parole requests which, in some cases after months, still have not been
responded to. In the interim, some of these individuals have contracted COVID-19.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “July 23 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): ICE

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

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

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

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 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

March 23, 2021

“A Mexican man entered the United States when individuals associated with organized crime demanded he carry a backpack full of drugs into the United States and threatened him with a razor. When he refused, they beat him. Once the Mexican man regained consciousness, he turned himself in to Border Patrol. He told agents what happened to him, where Border Patrol could find the drugs and the men who assaulted him who belonged to a criminal gang. Still, the agents kept the man in the vehicle the whole day, picking up other immigrants and giving him only water to drink. Once they came to the CBP facility and he was processed, he repeated what had happened to him. The CBP agent there laughed and asked if he wanted to file a police report. When he said yes, the agent said it would take too long. He was never given an opportunity to express his fears about returning to Mexico or give information about the crime that had been committed against him. He was never given medical attention while in CBP custody and was left alone in a cell for long stretches of time despite his weakened state. He was soon expelled back to Mexico.”

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, Denial of Food or Water

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

February 28, 2021

“A Honduran woman, her daughter, neighbor, and neighbor’s daughter  entered the United States and were detained by Border Patrol. They were taken to a  border facility which had other immigrants. The agents took the fingerprints in a  rough manner, which caused her daughter to cry out in Spanish that her mom was  good and the police should not take her away. The agents then got angry and  insulted them, calling them “rats.” Their belongings were confiscated (bags, clothes,  diapers, formula for babies). They did not give them water when they asked for  some because they were thirsty from walking. Three hours later, they gave them  juice and crackers. Despite the facility being cold, they were not permitted to put on  any outerwear they brought with them. The next day, when they were being  transported out of the facility and the woman asked for their jackets, an agent  threatened to shoot them; saying “you should have thought about that before you  brought your daughter here” and “Don’t move! I’ve got a gun and I am not afraid to  use it.” Her daughter’s lips were cracked because of the cold. While they were being  transferred, they were kept out in the cold while the agents went to a place with  heat. When she asked for a new diaper for her daughter, the agent denied her this. Her daughter went 18 hours in a soiled diaper. They were expelled to Nogales.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Food or Water

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

February 4, 2021

“Twenty-nine individuals subject to Title 42 expulsion over the last two weeks reported abuses at the hands of
Border Patrol Agents, including verbal and physical abuse, nighttime expulsion, not returning belongings,
denial of access to due process for asylum and refusal of medical attention while in BP custody.
7 of the last 14 days, migrants have arrived at our migrant aid center after being expelled between 10PM and
5AM.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Medical Care, Non-Return of Belongings, Use of Force

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

January 11, 2021

On January 11, 2021, Erik Mercado Arechiga reported to the Freedom for Immigrants National Hotline that the detention facility is supposed to pay a detained worker to clean the showers in the unit but they are leaving that position unfilled. The showers are shared with individuals who have COVID-19 and those who do not. The showers are extremely filthy; people don’t even want to go in them to shower. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that he walked into the showers and couldn’t even stomach the filth, so he washed himself in a sink.

Source: Freedom for Immigrants, “CRCL Complaint Erik Mercado Arechiga”, January 2021. <https://share.mayfirst.org/s/F2soW64cQDRr6fe?dir=undefined&path=%2F&openfile=8425396>

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): ICE

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Disregard to Public Health

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, No further action

March 27, 2020

The following cases and patterns of persistent toxic behavior are from a March 2020 complaint, by the ACLU to the CRCL and DHS OIG, about Border Patrol Station 1 in El Paso, Texas failing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Border Patrol Station 1 in El Paso failed to respond to the COVID-19  pandemic by any public health metric. Agents failed to inform those detained of vital public health information; make vital, basic logistical accommodations to mitigate  and prevent spread of the virus amongst detained persons and agents; or provide basic  sanitary needs to prevent dissemination of the virus. The complaint calls for an  investigation of the conditions and recommends various needed protocols.”

“i. Held over 150 persons in a single room with persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms;  

ii. Failed to provide information to detained individuals on the COVID-19  pandemic, such as recommended Center for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC) guidelines for preventing transmission of the virus; 

iii. Held people in cells where they are forced to be in close contact with each  other, including by sleeping approximately three feet apart; 

iv. Failed to provide detained individuals with sufficient soap. (for example, migrants reported that in one bathroom, only one of six sinks had a soap  dispenser that in fact contained soap); 

v. Provided only a single square of toilet paper per use; 

vi. Denied detained individuals access to hand sanitizer;  

vii. Failed to provide adequate medical screening of detained individuals not  exhibiting symptoms of illness; and  

viii. Failed to ensure uniform access to personal protective equipment for  everyone in the detention facility.”

Source: Shaw Drake and Jonathan Blazer, ACLU, Letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, “Re: Unresolved Complaints of CBP Misconduct Require Immediate Attention and Accountability,” March 3, 2021.  

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

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

February 18, 2020

The following cases and patterns of persistent toxic behavior are from a February 18, 2020 complaint about abuse and mistreatment of detained sick children filed by the ACLU to the CRCL and DHS OIG.

“CBP detention devastates children’s mental and physical development; children have died while in custody, and conditions are often inhumane and abusive.”

“At the emergency room, a doctor determined that a 6-week-old child was  dehydrated and constipated. The doctor explained that there was little he could do  for the baby and insisted that the baby see a pediatrician as soon as possible.  Instead—and in direct contravention of this medical advice—the Border Patrol  returned the child and her mother to detention. On the family’s fifth day of detention, they were finally released to the San Diego Migrant Family Shelter. The mother recalled that, at the child’s final check-up in  Tijuana, shortly before the family had arrived in the United States, she had  weighed 5 kilos 200 grams (11.46 pounds). By the time the child was weighed at the San Diego Migrant Shelter, she weighed only 4 kilos (8.82 pounds).”

Source: Shaw Drake and Jonathan Blazer, ACLU, Letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, “Re: Unresolved Complaints of CBP Misconduct Require Immediate Attention and Accountability,” March 3, 2021.

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Medical Care

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

January 22, 2020

The following cases and patterns of persistent toxic behavior are from a January 22, 2020 complaint about abuse and mistreatment of detained pregnant people filed by the ACLU to CRCL and DHS OIG.

“CBP agents mistreated detained pregnant people and held them in inhumane conditions. The complaint includes the detailed accounts of four women who were mistreated, abused, and/or neglected by CBP while detained.”

“Border Patrol stations lacked bedding, showers, and staff trained to interact with or assist traumatized or otherwise vulnerable populations, include pregnant people who are at risk of dire health outcomes (including miscarriages and stillbirths).”

“A woman reported that, during her initial processing, a Border Patrol agent subjected her to excessive force. The agent, apparently infuriated that she and her  friend were speaking to each other while awaiting processing, forcibly grabbed  her by the arm and took her out of her seat. The agent then grabbed her by the shoulders from behind and slammed her face-first against a chain link fence three  times. She attempted to shield her protruding stomach from the fence—crying out  “You’re hurting me! I’m pregnant!”—yet the agent continued to throw her against  the fence.”

“Another woman reported that the food she received was spoiled and served cold;  she could not bring herself to eat it. She feared the water was not potable because the water supply was connected to (and on top of) the toilet in her cell. She was not provided with any hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary pads).  Taken into custody in wet and mud-covered clothing, she was neither permitted a change of clothing nor provided a chance to shower for the duration of her detention.”

“Additional information obtained from a FOIA request filed by the ACLU National Prison Project… The ACLU received a CRCL spreadsheet which included 42 additional cases involving CBP’s mistreatment of pregnant persons. Reported conduct ranges from verbal abuse to physical assault to failed provision of medical care.

“On April 10, 2019, CRCL received a CBP Info Center referral regarding alleged CBP misconduct towards a family, including a pregnant mother, at the Ambassador Bridge port of entry in Detroit, Michigan. The complaint alleges that  15 CBP officers surrounded their vehicle and groped the pregnant woman and her  15- month-old child in their genital areas during a search of the family and  vehicle. The father described the officers as racist, unprofessional, and inadequately trained.”

Source: Shaw Drake and Jonathan Blazer, ACLU, Letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, “Re: Unresolved Complaints of CBP Misconduct Require Immediate Attention and Accountability,” March 3, 2021.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care, Gender-based Violence, Use of Force

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