February 1, 2021

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK discussed a Guatemalan mother’s inability to request asylum while in Border Patrol custody in Arizona.

A Guatemalan woman and her two children (including a 14-year-old son) fled Guatemala and were detained in the desert upon entry to the US by Border Patrol and taken to the Tucson Station. At the facility, the woman tried to talk to the agents and tell them she could not return to Guatemala because she had suffered violence. The agent said if he allowed her asylum that he would be breaking the law and if he did it for her the agents would have to do it for others. Border Patrol said they had no legal right to seek asylum. They were expelled to Nogales, Sonora. The family was harassed and threatened in Mexico after being expelled.

KBI filed a February 4, 2021 complaint with the DHS Office on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). On April 1, CRCL emailed “that they received the complaint and forwarded it to the OIG. No details were provided about disciplinary actions for officers or recourse for victims of abuse.”

Due Process Denied (United States: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, 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): Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

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

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Guatemala