Organizational Culture Events where the event type is “Denial of Medical Care”

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 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 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

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 8, 2021

“Recently, one of our legal service partners spoke with Maily Martinez, who attempted to cross the border with her
husband and son near the Yuma port of entry in early July. Maily was eight months pregnant with twins at the time.
When BP agents encountered the family, the woman expressed that she urgently needed medical attention, but the
agents ignored her and expelled her back to Mexico. She realized shortly after that the twins had died, likely rightaround the time that Border Patrol denied her medical aid.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Denial of Medical Care, Fatal Encounter, Gender-based Violence

Accountability Status: Lawsuit Filed

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 12, 2021

“A Guatemalan man entered the United States through the desert with a  group of several others. He encountered Border Patrol agents who tripped him, causing him to fall and injure his knee. His face was injured with thorns. He was in a  lot of pain, and he asked for medical attention. The agents said they could not help  him. They then forced him to walk for an hour in handcuffs. Then the agents drove  him to the border station. He didn’t receive medical attention at the station. He was  expelled from that station to Nogales, Sonora. Only after he arrived in Mexico did  Kino facilitate medical attention.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

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

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

April 4, 2021

“A Guatemalan woman entered the United States and was detained by  Border Patrol and transferred to a border patrol facility. She had previously injured  herself in the desert and could not walk well. When transported to the facility, a  nurse told her she needed surgery to fix a broken bone and torn muscle. She was  taken to a clinic where an X ray was taken and found that her tibia was shattered.  The medical assistant then told the female border agent who was present that the  woman needed an operation right away. The medical assistant told the woman that  the surgery was absolutely necessary, and so she agreed to the operation. Then they  transferred her to a hospital and changed the Border Patrol agent in of charge of  her. It was now a male Border Patrol agent. He received all the paperwork. The  woman did not receive any paperwork. The medical staff started prepping for the  surgery, then all of a sudden they said they couldn’t do it. The medical staff then  gave the woman a sedative and put a cast on. The nurse told her that wherever she  goes next, that the women must have surgery. When she asked why they were not  continuing with surgery, the medical staff apologized profusely and told her the  agents were not going to allow the Guatemalan woman to stay in the U.S. long  enough for an operation she desperately needed. Medical staff repeated that she  must have surgery as soon as she can because her injuries were serious. The Border  Patrol agent there then rushed the woman out of the hospital without allowing the  woman to eat or change clothes or get any prescribed pain medication. Though she  could barely walk, she was expelled to Nogales, Sonora without any crutches.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

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

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

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

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

“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

February 26, 2021

“Last weekend the Florence Project was alerted to a pregnant woman at a local hospital who was in Border
Patrol custody. Fearing she would be removed without due process and concerned about the vulnerability of
pregnant women at the border, the Florence Project requested she be released to the community rather than
sent to Mexico. Border Patrol never responded. Two days later the woman reached out from Nogales,
Sonora seeking aid.”

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

Accountability Status: No steps taken

February 15, 2021

To escape the lingering, devastating effects of two hurricanes and the reach of organized crime, Pedro Gomez fled Guatemala in January and headed north, looking for hope.

Thousands of miles south, Jhon Jairo Ushca Alcoser, too, left his country, Ecuador, fleeing political unrest and the economic fallout of a global pandemic that’s ravaged his nation.

For both men, it seemed as if nothing would stand in the way of their cherished dream – certainly not deserts, rivers, unscrupulous smugglers, or the infamous wall they had heard so much about. But then that same wall nearly crippled them. And fhs the U.S. Border Patrol — then “dumped us in Mexico like garbage, a piece of trash,” said Pedro Gomez, 37. They say agents who discovered them injured sent them back across the border rather than providing them medical care on American soil.

It’s not clear why these injured migrants were deported to Mexico, even after both said they told agents they couldn’t walk.

“I couldn’t even get up, so I crawled inside the migra vehicle,” said Gomez, after falling off the wall in late January. At one point, he says he was told he was going to be taken to a U.S. hospital, but instead was dropped off at the border crossing nearly 90 miles from where he fell off the wall near El Paso. His ankles are broken and he cannot walk.

Ushca Alcoser said he told Border Patrol agents he couldn’t move and was “screaming in excruciating pain” after he fell backwards off of a 30-foot section of the wall newly installed during the Trump administration as Border Patrol agents stood in front of him in early February.

But “they said ‘stand up, stand up.’ I don’t know where I found the strength.” He says he was sent back to Mexico, dragging his feet as another migrant held him up. X-Rays later revealed broken tendons and a fractured back and pelvis, Sosa said.

The two men asked their names be used so their accounts of events can be verified.

Separately, a Border Patrol spokesman said the agency does not track injuries related to the wall.

Source: The Dallas Morning, “Injured Migrants Say Border Patrol Sent Them Back to Mexico After They Fell Off Trump’s Wall” February 2021. <https://www.dallasnews.com/news/immigration/2021/02/14/injured-migrants-say-border-patrol-sent-them-back-to-mexico-after-they-fell-off-trumps-wall/>.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status:

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

February 1, 2021

Last week a 23-year-old Salvadoran woman who was 36 weeks pregnant arrived at our migrant aid center
after BP agents expelled her under Title 42. When she was detained, she began to have strong headaches
and was concerned that the stress was causing her to go into premature labor, something that had happened
to her in a previous pregnancy. Border Patrol agents denied her medical attention three times, but she felt
very ill and insisted on seeing a doctor. A Border Patrol agent responded by accusing her of lying, and
threatened that she would face federal criminal charges if she kept causing problems. She continued
insisting, and was finally taken to the hospital, where they discovered she was 2 cm dilated. After her
headaches ceased, they expelled her to Nogales, Sonora, MX.

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

January 29, 2021

“A Guatemalan man entered the United States near Sasabe, Sonora and  walked for four hours before being met by Border Patrol who were on motorcycles.  At first the man started to run, but when the official got closer, he stopped and put  his hands up. The agent then grabbed him and shoved him to the ground, causing  pain to his shoulder. He was then moved to Tucson. He was not given any medical  attention for his shoulder. He was instead expelled to Nogales, while he was still  experiencing pain.”

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

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): CBP

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

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL, No further action

January 12, 2021

On January 12, 2021, Rafael Mercado Arechiga reported to the Freedom for Immigrants National Hotline that he was not receiving adequate mental health care or medication for pain. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that Officer Williams, a CCA officer, has been joining psychiatric appointments and recommending treatment and medication changes but admits that she is not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. Since Core Civic took over, Mr. Mercado Arechiga has only been given Tylenol instead of Gabapentin and has been switched to a few different PTSD medications that have not been working for him. Mr. Mercado Arechiga reported that his conditions have been getting worse since switching medications and that Tylenol is not enough for the amount of pain he feels. Mr. Mercado Arechiga also reported that he’s been in solitary for a year. He remains in a solitary cell for 22 hours a day and is not able to exercise or socialize. 

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, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: No further action

October 29, 2020

A Guatemalan man who arrived in Nogales this week after being returned to Mexico under Title 42 reported
that a Border Patrol Agent went through his belongings, took away the pills prescribed to regulate his
diabetes, and threw them in the trash. When the man arrived at our Migrant Aid Center, he had gone
several days without taking his prescribed medication.

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “October 29 Update”, October 2020. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/11MRHxv_Q_gdj2MG4V0uBtIEcJBNG9RGZ/view>

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Denial of Medical Care, Non-Return of Belongings

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