Organizational Culture Events in “Rio Grande Valley” where the event type is “Denial of Asylum”

October 2021

“In October 2021 DHS agents repeatedly told an asylum-seeking Honduran family to “shut up” and refused to answer their questions as they transferred the family by plane from McAllen, Texas, where they had crossed the border to seek asylum, to Arizona for expulsion into Nogales, Mexico. According to Kino Border Initiative, an agent attempted to seize the family’s documents related to their asylum claim.”

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): Rio Grande Valley, Tucson

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Confiscation of Documents, Denial of Asylum

Accountability Status: Unknown

October 13, 2021

“A Fernando y su familia, el sueño americano se les había terminado cuando apenas empezaba. Según nos cuenta, ellos y unas 150 personas más, fueron obligados a caminar desde la frontera hasta la ciudad de McAllen, Texas. Caminaron unas dos horas y luego abordaron un bus que los condujo a las famosas hieleras, así les llaman los migrantes a los centros de detención, cuya característica es la de ser muy fríos. Ahí permanecieron cuatro días.

“Durante permanecieron en las «hieleras» tenían que bañarse a las 2 a. m. Fernando dice que sus niñas se enfermaron de las vías respiratorias. Como alimento recibían tortillas de harina y lechuga. Antes de entrar al centro de detención les pidieron el contacto y dirección de las personas que los esperaban en el gran país del norte. «Supuestamente les iban a llamar para que nos fueran a recoger, pero de ahí para allá no hubo nada, nos tuvieron cuatro días en la hielera sin saber nada», nos contó.

“El miércoles 13 de octubre, Fernando y su familia fueron llamados a una sala donde habían otras personas. Asegura que incluso llamaron a sus familiares y él pensaba que ya iba a reunirse con ellos. Los subieron a un bus, fueron llevados al aeropuerto en Mcallen y una vez en el avión Fernando sabía que algo no andaba bien. Preguntaron a los oficiales de migración qué pasaba y ellos contestaron que no sabían: «Cuando menos lo esperé el avión aterrizó y vimos que en el aeropuerto decía bienvenidos a Villa Hermosa».

“Una vez aterrizaron en la ciudad antes mencionada, jurisdicción del Estado de Tabasco, los migrantes reclamaban por qué eran dejados en suelo mexicano si no eran oriundos de ese país. En el aeropuerto los recogió migración de México y abordaron un nuevo bus, en el que viajaron a Corinto, frontera de Guatemala y Honduras. «Nos han traído a puro pan y agua», comenta Fernando tocándose el estómago. «Nos trajeron engañados porque supuestamente íbamos para donde nuestra familia, hasta les llamaron. Ahorita se sorprendieron cuando les dije que estaba en Honduras, pude llamar porque ya nos devolvieron los teléfonos», agrega.”

Source: Allan Bu, “En la Madrugada, e Ignorados por el Estado, Llegan a Corinto Miles de Hondurenos Deportados” (Contra Corriente, October 18, 2021) <https://contracorriente.red/2021/10/15/en-la-madrugada-e-ignorados-por-el-estado-llegan-a-corinto-miles-de-hondurenos-deportados>.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Asylum, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Accountability Status: No steps taken

August 2021

“In August 2021, DHS subjected three Nicaraguan political dissidents to a lateral expulsion flight after they sought protection near McAllen, Texas. DHS officers verbally abused them, threatening to release dogs to attack them. The officers woke the men at 1:00 am, handcuffed them, and forced them to stand for more than two hours before the expulsion flight. The officers lied to the men telling them that they would be sent to California and permitted to pursue their asylum cases, but instead expelled them to Tijuana. From there, Mexican immigration officials transported them to Mexico’s southern border and attempted to deport them to Guatemala, but Guatemalan immigration authorities refused to accept them, leaving them stranded in southern Mexico, according to Anaís Catalina, an advocate assisting them.”

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): Rio Grande Valley, San Diego

Agency(ies): DHS

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Denial of Asylum, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Threat of Violence

Accountability Status: Unknown

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

March 15, 2020

Ms. Doe fled Cuba along with her husband in June 2019. They arrived at the United States- Mexico border in September 2019 and presented themselves at the Hidalgo Port of Entry to seek asylum. They were detained for two days in CBP custody before being placed in the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”) and forced to remain in Mexico during the pendency of their immigration court proceedings. Over the next several months, they were paroled into the United States for multiple court hearings. At the conclusion of each hearing, they were returned to the city of Reynosa in Mexico. In March 2020, an immigration judge denied Ms.Doe and her husband asylum. They both reserved appeal and were returned to Reynosa for an indefinite period of time. There, the couple faced the tremendous challenges of navigating a global pandemic in a foreign country, without critical resources. Ms.Doe and her husband both fell ill, yet due to their lack of access to medical care, they could not get treatment. Ms. Doe’s husband additionally suffered threats and extortion in Mexico.

Fearful of ever-present threats to their safety, overwhelmed by unrelenting pandemic circumstances, and without legal counsel, the couple was unable to timely submit their immigration appeal. Consequently, the pair made the difficult decision to request asylum once more at a port of entry—this time, in Tijuana. When they arrived at the port of entry, however, U.S. immigration officers told the couple that the border was “closed” due to the coronavirus pandemic, and turned them away.

Source: ACLU, “Unresolved OIG Complaints” p. 123, March 2020. <https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/appendix-13-unresolved-oig-complaints>

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Denial of Asylum, Denial of Medical Care

Accountability Status: Shared with DHS OIG