Organizational Culture Events where the event type is “Gender-based Violence”

July 8, 2021

“One teenager arrived with her sister after Border Patrol denied them a credible fear screening. She
explained to border officials that she was fleeing the man who raped her, beat her sister, and was pursuing
her as she left. On one occasion, a US official reached into her blouse and bra, despite her protests, to take
documents relating to her sexual abuse and laughed at her while reading her papers.”

Source: Kino Border Initiative, “July 8 Update From KBI”, July 2021.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Gender-based Violence, Sexual Assault

Accountability Status: Complaint filed with CRCL

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

February 16, 2020

A pregnant Guatemalan woman was forced to give birth to her baby, with her pants on and holding on to the side of a trash can at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station near San Diego. “…she had repeatedly asked the agents for help, telling them how much pain she was in. Instead, she was repeatedly told to sit down and wait to be processed… After about 30 minutes, her husband could hear the baby crying through the fabric of her pants. He lowered them and saw his baby’s head.”

The Guatemalan woman and the baby’s father had migrated with “their two young daughters and arrived at the San Isidro Port of Entry in San Diego in mid-May 2019, nine months before she gave birth. They were sent back to Mexico and spent nine months in a camp in Tijuana, presenting themselves at the border for three separate immigration hearings… During their wait, the woman became pregnant, with a due date of mid-March 2020.”

On February 16, 2020, ” the woman began receiving calls from the persecutors the family was fleeing… They began to harass her and threaten her… The family decided they couldn’t wait any longer. They set out to cross the border illegally, outside the port of entry, understanding they were like to be apprehended by ICE, but that they would be safer in U.S. detainment than in the camps.”

“As they crossed the desert, the woman began to feel contractions and immense pain… They were soon apprehended by a Border Patrol agent. The woman was in clear distress, and her husband begged the agent for medical attention, but instead the agent loaded the family into his car and giving them a ‘rough ride’ (an abusive practice in which some border agents reportedly purposefully drive so badly as to fling detainees around the car.”

“Shortly after [the birth], the woman was separated from her family and brought to a local hospital where she stayed for two nights. As she received postpartum care, a border agent remained in the room with her, not allowed her privacy. In the hospital, she was also diagnosed with influenza.”

“After she was discharged from the hospital, the Border Patrol agent brought her back to the station with her newborn — and, because she had symptoms of the flu, put her and her family into a quarantine cell… These cells are notoriously freezing cold, but when the woman asked for a blanket for her newborn, she was denied.”

The birth was detailed in a complaint [1] filed by the ACLU and Jewish Family Service of San Diego with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal led a letter with 12 other members of Congress to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari demanding an investigation [2].

[1] Monika Y. Langarica, Kate Clark, and Dr. Kay Daniels, “Re: U.S. Border Patrol’s Abuse and Mistreatment of [REDACTED]” (ACLU and Jewish Family Service, April 8, 2020) <https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6827805-2020-04-07-OIG-Cmplt-Final-Redacted.html>

[2] Senator Richard Blumenthal et al, “Re: CBP Mistreating Pregnant Detainees,” (United States Senate, April 8, 2020) <https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.04.08%20DHS%20OIG%20Letter%20re%20CBP%20Mistreating%20Pregnant%20Detainees.pdf>

Source: Ema O’Connor, “A Woman Gave Birth In a Border Patrol Station Still Wearing Pants. Now The Agents Involved Are Being Accused of Abuse” (BuzzFeed News, April 9, 2020) <https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/emaoconnor/pregnant-woman-birth-border-patrol-aclu-complaint>

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of minor, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Medical Care, Family Separation, Gender-based Violence

Accountability Status: 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