Organizational Culture Events where the event type is “Denial of Food or Water”

September 2021

“In September 2021, DHS expelled an asylum-seeking Haitian family to Haiti after holding them for days in a freezing cell without sufficient food. DHS separated the family from an adult brother who had crossed into Del Rio, Texas with them where they had attempted to seek asylum together based on political persecution. The family remains in hiding in Haiti, terrified their persecutors will find them, according to Blaine Bookey from the UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.”

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): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, DHS

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Food or Water, Family Separation

Accountability Status: Unknown

August 2021

In August 2021, DHS expelled Cynthia, a 21-year-old pregnant Honduran woman to Mexico, without providing her water or medical attention after she had begged for something to drink and to see a doctor for stomach pain.

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, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: Unknown

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 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

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 3, 2021

“One woman who traveled with her son and nephews said that the Border Patrol agent who found them yelled
at them aggressively, refused to let them speak at all, and threatened to hand them over to the police when
they tried to speak after she told them to “shut up.” They were also denied food while in custody.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status:

April 9, 2021

“Another young Guatemalan migrant reported that before Border Patrol agents expelled him to Nogales,
Sonora, they threw away all the water and supplies they had brought with them. The BP agents took the
apples the group brought for food and fed them to their horses. When they asked for water since they
had walked days in the desert, the BP agents refused until several hours later.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Food or Water, Non-Return of Belongings

Accountability Status: Unknown

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

March 2, 2021

“A young Guatemalan mother arrived at KBI with her 3-year-old daughter this week after Border Patrol
expelled them to Mexico under Title 42. Her daughter suffers from stomach issues, and although the mother
pleaded with a Border Patrol agent to keep her yogurt and medicine, the agent threw it in the trash. They
were detained around 9PM and expelled the next day around 3PM. During those 18 hours, BP only provided
them with a few crackers and juice. The mother said she felt dizzy when they were expelled to Mexico
because they had not eaten. They also suffered cold during the time they were detained because BP agents
confiscated all their sweatshirts and coats. By the time they were expelled, the 3-year-old had soiled her
diaper, but BP agents had confiscated the diapers the mother brought with her. They refused to give her a
diaper despite the fact that the girl’s pants were soaked through. One BP agent repeatedly yelled at
them and said, “I don’t know what you’re doing in this country.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Abusive Language, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status:

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 27, 2021

“A young Salvadoran man traveling with his sister arrived at our migrant center after being expelled under
Title 42 last week. While he was in CBP custody, a Border Patrol agent yelled at the group he was traveling
with: “Don’t move, you “M—- F—-rs.” The agent threatened that if they so much as moved, he would release
the dog to “tear them into sh–.” While detained by CBP, they did not receive any food, and were not allowed
to go to the bathroom until they repeatedly insisted. They were expelled to Nogales, Sonora at 12AM, when
the Mexican immigration office was closed and there was no one there to receive them, so they slept outside
the INM office in the cold. When they arrived at KBI, they had gone about 3 days without eating.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Abusive Language, Denial of Food or Water

Accountability Status: No steps taken

October 5, 2020

In early October, for the second time in less than three months, Border Patrol agents raided a No More Deaths humanitarian aid camp about 11 miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border. After being detained with her fellow volunteers, Paige Corich-Kleim watched as agents descended into the camp with military-style vehicles and weapons to terrorize and eventually detain 12 migrants seeking food, water, and medical aid at the camp. Despite past victories in court establishing that humanitarian aid is not a crime and that No More Deaths should be able to operate freely without Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intimidation, its camps and the people seeking lifesaving assistance there continue to be threatened.

Source: The Nation, “The Border Patrol Is Cracking Down on Humanitarian Aid” <https://www.thenation.com/article/society/no-more-deaths-arizona/>.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: No further action

July 7, 2020

An investigation by the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties and ACLU Border Rights Center “identified many instances in which Border Patrol agents verbally abused individuals, including children, in their custody. This abuse may involve bullying, harassment, threats of violence or other harm, denigration, ridicule, racism, and misstatements about U.S. immigration law, including an individual’s right to seek asylum. Recently detained individuals related the following statements to our investigator: [28]”

  • “Olvídate del asilo, a la mejor te quitamos a tu hija.”

“Forget about asylum, we might just take away your daughter.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman while interrogating her about why she came to the United States.

  • “No mantenemos hijos de nadie.”

“We don’t take care of anyone’s children.”

—Border Patrol agent to a mother when she asked for food for her 1-year old child who had not had any food to eat for an entire day.

  • “Pendejadas las tuyas, esa mentira ya me la creo yo.”

“Your words are bullshit, I stopped believing that lie.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman trying to explain she had fled her country of origin to escape from her abusive partner.

  • “Cabrona, échate para atrás.”

“You bastard, get back over there.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman as she was entering the country and injured from crossing the border wall.

  • “¿Desgraciada, ¿porque tienes tantos niños si no los puedes cuidar? Puta, prostituta.” “Disgraced woman, why do you have so many kids if you can’t take care of them? Slut, prostitute.”

—Border Patrol agent to a detained mother.

  • “¿Trajiste a tu hija a los EEUU para prostituirla?”

“Did you bring your daughter to the U.S. to prostitute her?”

—Border Patrol agent to a mother with a 15-year-old daughter.

  • “¿Cuáles de ustedes maricas sufren de asma?”

“Which of you faggots suffer from asthma?”

—Border Patrol agent to a holding cell of young boys aged 13 to 17.

  • “If you keep complaining I will put you with the dogs.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman when she refused to undress for a search during apprehension.

  • “Yo mismo te voy a deportar, te voy a echar a México y vas a correr.”

“I am going to deport you myself, I will send you back to Mexico and you’ll have to run.”

—Border Patrol agent to man upon apprehension in the United States.

  • “Ya saben a que vienen, ¿porque te quejas? ¿Qué, quieren una coca fría? ¡Aquí no es un hotel!”

“You know where you were coming, why are you complaining? What, did you want a cold soda? This is not a hotel!”

—Border Patrol agent to a cell of detained mothers as their children were crying and pleading for food.

  • “Son indios de pata rajada, solo usan sus hijos para entrar.”

“You are all [derogatory expression referring to indigenous peoples], you only use your children to enter [the United States].”

—Border Patrol agent to detained father.

  • “¡Aquí no se hace lo que voz dice, se hace lo que yo digo!”

“Here we don’t do what you say, you do what I say!

—Border Patrol agent to pregnant woman asking for water.

  • “Are you fucking retarded? Stop playing with that shit.”

—Border Patrol agent to children playing in holding cell.

  • “Váyanse de aquí, ¿qué hacen aquí sí ni hablan inglés?, no valen nada.”

“Get out of here, what are you doing here if you don’t even speak English, you are worthless.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman and her family upon apprehension.

  • “He’s not even your son, you’re too old, he’s your grandson.”

—Border Patrol agent to an older woman and her child upon apprehension.

  • “No estás en tu casa, ¿tienes mierda en la cabeza?”

“You’re not at home, do you have shit for brains?”

—Border Patrol agent to woman who asked for a plastic cup to drink water.

  • “Joder con ustedes, por eso no mejoran en su país.”

“I’ve fucking had it with you, this is why you guys don’t advance in your country.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained woman who did not understand his Spanish.

  • “Usan sus hijos como si fueran pasaporte.”

“You all use your kids as if they were a passport.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained woman.

  • “If you can eat and pee you’re okay.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained man with severe flu symptoms.

  • “If you would have never left your country you would not have to go through this.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained woman as she begged to not be returned to Tijuana under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (“MPP”) (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy).

  • “What is going on in your guys’ country that you think the government here will take care of you?”

—Border Patrol agent to 8-months-pregnant woman during processing.

  • “No me interesa porque te haz venido, por las buenas o las malas te regresas.”

“I don’t care why you’ve come here, for better or worse you’re going back.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained father before putting his family into MPP.

  • “I know guys like you, always on the streets.”

—Border Patrol agent to a 16-year-old boy during interrogation without his mom present while she was in separate holding cell.

  • “I don’t care, it’s not my life, not my problem.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained woman as she tried to explain why she had left her country of origin.

  • “I don’t have to tell you, you broke the law, you have no rights.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman when she asked what was on the form she was being instructed to sign.

  • “¡Levántense, puercas!”

“Get up, pigs!”

—Border Patrol agent to a cell of detained women.

  • “This is jail, not a hotel.”

—Border Patrol agent to woman who asked for an instant soup instead of a cold burrito.

  • “Why do they only send us their trash? You are all trash!”

—Border Patrol agent to cell full of detained women and children.

  • “You are acting like a dumbass! I am tired of you!”

—Border Patrol agent to teenage girl after she declined agent’s request to remove her sweatshirt because of freezing temperatures in holding cell.

  • “I am treating you the way illegals should be treated!”

—Border Patrol agent to mother of teenage girl who stood up for her daughter after agent ridiculed her and told agent to “stop yelling at us.”

  • “You are an idiot but you sure are good at popping out kids.”

—Border Patrol agent to detained mother.

“[28]: Most of ACLU’s interviews were conducted in Spanish, with contemporaneous notes taken in Spanish by our investigator. Where our notes contain the original Spanish quotes, we have provided that original (as relayed by the interviewee to our investigator) as well as our English translation. At times, our investigator memorialized a statement in English only during her interview (via simultaneous translation). In such cases, we have reproduced her English translation here.

“Many of these quotes use degrading and offensive language that we hesitated to reprint. In the end, we decided to reproduce the language reported to remain as faithful as possible to the accounts of those we interviewed.”

Source: ACLU Foundation San Diego and Imperial Counties, ACLU Border Rights Center, “Re: U.S. Border Patrol’s Verbal Abuse of Detained Individuals” (San Diego and El Paso, July 7, 2020) <https://cbpabusestest2.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/2020-07-07-dhs-oig-cmplt-4-final.pdf>.

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Denial of Food or Water, Denial of Medical Care, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Racial Discrimination or Profiling

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG