302 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct involving “Border Patrol”

January 17, 2024

A January 17 Arizona Daily Star report described freezing temperatures and lack of access to basic necessities threatening asylum seekers gathered outdoors along the border, especially in southern Arizona. As many as 1,000 people were reported awaiting processing in the Tohono O’odham Nation lands along the border in the remote desert southwest of Tucson. A majority of the arrivals reported in this region, as cited by the Arizona Daily Star and described by Tohono O’odham Chairman Verlon Jose, are asylum seekers in family units, including young children. 

Since December, aid workers have coordinated daily presence in the Arizona border region, particularly in the context of freezing temperatures and heavy rains, often being the sole providers of food, water, shelter, medical care, and addressing the growing sanitation needs. A volunteer described his experience, “shoveling human excrement into [the] trenches that were dug”. Volunteers were also reportedly transporting asylum seekers experiencing medical emergencies, despite Border Patrol’s threats to arrest them, as volunteers described the lack of response by authorities even in dire situations. 

Volunteers from Southern Arizona humanitarian aid group, No More Deaths, built a make-shift encampment in the desert region east of Sásabe, with tents and a cooking area, and attached tarps to the border wall to create additional shelters from the cold. CBP subsequently placed “cease-and-desist” signs on the tarps, stating it was a safety hazard and interfered with law enforcement and construction crews’ access to the road, as well as obstructed visibility. 

After pressure from aid workers and the Tohono O’odham nation, Customs and Border Protection installed one large, heated tent, portable toilets, and a hand washing station near the San Miguel gate. 

“It’s solely their responsibility to be doing almost everything that we’re currently doing”, stated a humanitarian aid volunteer. 

Bregel, Emily. “Life-Threatening Cold, ‘sanitation Crisis’ for Migrants at Arizona-Mexico Border.” Arizona Daily Star, January 17, 2024. https://tucson.com/news/local/subscriber/arizona-mexico-border-tohono-oodham-asylumseekers-migrants-surge/article_52e4a176-b565-11ee-87a6-67208722eaeb.html.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Disregard of Public Health, Endangerment

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

Early January, 2024

Among various cases reported by the Daily Mail on January 1, 2024, regarding the illegal return of asylum-seeking migrants at the El Paso border, is that of a Venezuelan family stopped by a Border Patrol agent while crossing a barbed wire fence onto U.S. soil. The family, consisting of a mother, father, and children ages 1 and 4, was forced to return back to Mexico without the opportunity to request asylum, even though they were physically within the United States. According to U.S. and international law, migrants who express fear of return must be given the opportunity to make an asylum claim prior to deportation once on U.S. soil.

—Martinez, Maryann. “Border Patrol Agent Breaks Law by Turning Away Asylum-Seeking Migrants.” Mail Online, January 2, 2024. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12915159/Border-Patrol-agent-illegally-turns-away-asylum-seeking-migrants-Texas.html.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Venezuela

December 19, 2023

A Texas Public Radio report described the case of a migrant woman and child who were recorded by eyewitnesses pleading Border Patrol officers in a nearby airboat for help as they appeared to be drowning in the Rio Grande. Eyewitnesses stated that both the woman and child “went under for a while” and then resurfaced on the water, while a CBP airboat sped by “a few feet away from the woman and child, offering no assistance”.

TPR reported that the Texas Military Department determined that the woman and child were not in need of medical attention nor experiencing medical distress. From their assessment, they stated the migrants were capable of returning the short distance back to the Mexican shore.

—Pablo De La Rosa, “Video shows Texas National Guard soldiers appearing to ignore a mother and baby’s pleas for help in the Rio Grande” (Texas Public Radio, December 19, 2023) https://www.tpr.org/border-immigration/2023-12-18/video-shows-texas-national-guard-members-appearing-to-ignore-a-mother-and-babys-pleas-for-help-in-the-rio-grande.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Female, Mexico

December 15, 2023

A Los Angeles Times December 15 publication reported on the family separations taking place at the San Diego border, citing a letter written by the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Al Otro Lado, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, and the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy. 

The letter identified 1,081 family separations, 400 separations of spouses, and 200 separations of adult children and parents. 

Separations are the result of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s practice of releasing migrants to various locations without coordinated reception plans, as they handle increased arrivals of asylum seekers. Al Otro Lado reported these separations among the migrants they serve daily at a San Diego border welcome center. Some families remained separated even after being transferred to long-term detention, and in two cases, one family member was deported while others stayed in the U.S. Some families remain separated even after being transferred to long term detention. 

Many separated families claimed they informed CBP of their family status, but were rarely informed of potential separation or how to locate relatives. A migrant mother reported she was separated from her 19 year old son for five days after being transported to another immigration center unaware of her child’s whereabouts. “It’s hell,” she said. “Not knowing if your son is safe, if he is alive, if something happened to him. All you can do is pray to God.”

In the letter, advocacy groups urged The Department of Homeland Security to broaden the family group definition, document relationships, and ensure families are released together. 

Castillo, Andrea. “Over 1,000 Migrant Families Separated at Border near San Diego since September, Advocates Say.” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2023. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-12-15/migrant-families-at-san-diego-border-immigrant-advocates-letter-dhs.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP, DHS

Event Type(s): Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension, Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Endangerment, Family Separation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit

September 28, 2023

On September 28, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted the case of a deaf man who had been recently kidnapped and was denied access to asylum upon reaching the port of entry.

“After turning himself into BP, the agents made no attempt to communicate with him in a way he could understand and they returned him to Mexico.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension, Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Disability

Mid-September, 2023

NBC News, The Hill, and CBS News covered a September 15, 2023 report from a court-appointed juvenile care monitor, who found that CBP continues to separate migrant children from family members while they are in the agency’s custody.

A pediatrician associated with Stanford University, Dr, Paul Wise, interviewed families at a Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas in August 2023, finding that many children, some as young as 8 years old, were separated from their parents for up to 4 days.

The Flores Settlement Agreement, which dates from 1997, mandates that “minors may not be held in immigration detention for more than 72 hours in most cases”. Wise’s report counted 737 minors who traveled as part of family units at Donna in July. Of these, 697 were held between three to five days, 39 were held for longer than 5 days, and 15 were held for more than 14 days.

Reports have shown that minors traveling as part of family units are detained alone more often, and for longer periods of time, than unaccompanied minors.

While Dr. Wise found that Border Patrol was providing basic necessities to the children in custody, some children were receiving adult meals and some families were not being provided sleeping mats. 

CBP blames a large volume of migrants requiring processing, resulting in overcrowding in CBP “pods,” or groups in which children are placed. When pods are overcrowded, CBP makes an assessment of a child’s age and gender and places them in a pod of children with similar backgrounds, which may involve temporary separations from parents.

In his 71-page report, Dr. Wise noted these separations could affect children’s mental health. After interviewing some of the children, he reported “significant emotional distress related to separation, including sustained crying and disorientation.” This largely arose from their inability to communicate with their parents. In many cases, he noted, both the children and their detention caretakers in the facility were unaware of their visitation rights, which grants families the right to request to see each other while in custody.

While these separations have not been permanent, Dr. Wise’s report reveals that even temporary separations have caused emotional distress.

—Wise, Paul H. “Notice of Filing of Juvenile Care Monitor Report by Dr. Paul H. Wise.” California: United States District Court Central District of California, September 15, 2023. https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.cacd.45170/gov.uscourts.cacd.45170.1360.0.pdf.

—Montoya-Galvez, Camilo. “U.S. Border Agents Are Separating Migrant Children from Their Parents to Avoid Overcrowding, Inspector Finds – CBS News.” CBS News, September 16, 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/migrant-children-separated-parents-u-s-border-agents-overcrowding/.

—Bernal, Rafael. “Children Separated at US-Mexico Border Had ‘No Interaction’ with Their Parents: Report.” Text. The Hill, September 18, 2023. https://thehill.com/latino/4210694-children-separated-at-us-mexico-border-had-no-interaction-with-their-parents-report/.

—Ainsley, Julia. “Border Patrol Temporarily Separated Families This Summer, Court Filing Says.” NBC News, September 18, 2023. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/border-patrol-temporarily-separated-families-summer-court-filing-says-rcna105524.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Family Separation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Family Unit

September 14, 2023

 Reporting on September 14, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted a case of an attempted kidnapping of a migrant woman. When she arrived at the port of entry to request asylum, she was turned away without access to an asylum process. 

Nuria [name changed to protect privacy] fled Quintana Roo after a narcotrafficking group tried to take her as their “woman.” She turned herself into Border Patrol, where agents asked why she wanted asylum. She explained her situation, but the agents only took her fingerprints, said, “There’s no asylum for you. Asylum is closed,” and sent her back to Mexico. 

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Mexico

August 17, 2023

On August 17, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted the case of a young migrant who was denied access to asylum and misled with false information. 

“This week, a young man, Jesus* [name changed to protect privacy] fleeing organized crime in Southern Mexico arrived at KBI after paying thousands of dollars to a coyote in an attempt to seek asylum. “The coyotes say you turn yourself into Border Patrol and you get asylum, but it’s not true,” he said. BP agents told him, “there is no asylum for Mexicans,” and told him he could either be deported or sign his voluntary return.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

August 17, 2023

On August 17, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted that a migrant family was separated by Border Patrol and required to sign a voluntary return document.

“Patricia*[name changed to protect privacy], her 18-year-old son, her daughter-in-law, and grandchildren are fleeing threats in Mexico. When BP encountered them, they separated Patricia [name changed to protect privacy] from her son, as well as from her daughter in law and grandchildren. The agents didn’t ask any questions; they said they had to sign their voluntary return if they would receive jail time as punishment. Patricia asked if they would return her at the same time as her son because he is only 18. The agents said they would, but soon, she saw her son lining up with other men. BP returned her son at 8 pm to Nogales and returned her until the following day.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Family Separation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

August 17, 2023

On August 17, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted the following case.

“Over the past 2 weeks, KBI received multiple reports of Border Patrol pressuring or coercing Mexican nationals into signing their voluntary return after having asked for asylum, without a fear interview, and separating family members, including a mother from her 18-year-old son.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

August 8th, 2023

Hundreds of migrants arrived alongside the U.S border in Ciudad Juarez after false rumors spread that the U.S would allow entry to a mass group. 

Hours prior, Border Patrol warned that social media and word-of-mouth rumors were inciting migrants in Juarez to approach the border in hopes of being allowed entry. Although the rumors were false, hundreds walked to the Puente Negro (Black Bridge) and started shaking the fence.

Around 8:50pm, one group allegedly approached the locked gate and began throwing rocks in an attempt to breach the crossing and force a mass entry, federal officials reported. CBP officials consequently began deploying tear gas and firing pepper balls until the crowd dispersed. One video of the incident illustrates the pepper balls mostly striking the fence.

After this incident, the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) released a statement condemning the “disproportionate use of force against civilians, children, and migrant families”. BNHR also called on the “Biden Administration and Congress to bring accountability and oversight to federal immigration agencies at the southern border”.

“When we arrived on the ground, there were children in pain crying, entire families in the streets covered with tear gas. I saw children who could not find their parents trapped in the smoke clouds of tear gas,” said BNHR State Programs Director Betty Camargo.

—Gonzalez, Jose Luis. “Spurred by Rumor, Hundreds of Migrants Mass at US Border in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez.” Reuters, August 8, 2023, sec. Americas. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/spurred-by-rumor-hundreds-migrants-mass-us-border-mexicos-ciudad-juarez-2023-08-08/.

—Resendiz, Julian. “Border Officers Fire Pepper Balls at Migrants Attempting Mass Entry.” Border Report, August 8, 2023. https://www.borderreport.com/immigration/border-officers-fire-pepper-balls-at-migrants-attempting-mass-entry/.

—Lizarraga, Alan. “BNHR Extremely Concerned about the Disproportionate Use of Force Against Immigrant Families and Asylum Seekers and Renews Call for Oversight and Accountability for the Asylum System.” Border Network for Human Rights, August 8, 2023. https://myemail.constantcontact.com/BNHR-Extremely-Concerned-about-the-Disproportionate-Use-of-Force-Against-Immigrant-Families-and-Asylum-Seekers-and-Renews-Call-f.html?soid=1135012213486&aid=3d4wZysFps0.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Crowd Control, Use of Force

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Family Unit

August 3, 2023

On August 3, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), reported the case of a migrant family from Southern Mexico that fled to the U.S. border to seek asylum. Border Patrol mistreated the family, denied them asylum, and expelled them back to Mexico.

“Leonora*[name changed to protect privacy]  and her 3 kids fled Southern Mexico to save her daughter from sexual violence. They turned themselves into Border Patrol and after Leonora [name changed to protect privacy]  tried to explain why they were fleeing, the BP agent responded, “you’re in charge of defending your own kids; you can’t just come to the US.” The agents made fun of her and laughed at her and made her sign a document- they said if she didn’t sign it, she would be a criminal and would be subject to consequences for 10 years. They were detained for 3 nights, after which BP expelled them at 10 pm despite local repatriation agreements that require that these repatriations occur before 6:30 pm.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Conditions of Arrest or Apprehension, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Endangerment, Falsification or Negligent Handling of Asylum Paperwork

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Family Unit, Mexico

August 3,2023

Reporting on August 3, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted the case of a family seeking asylum, fleeing from Mexico. The mother of the family attempted to explain why she and her family needed to enter the U.S. but were not given the opportunity by Border Patrol. Border Patrol made her sign a voluntary removal form, stating that her refusal would result in five years of punishment and deportation to Mexico.

One agent said his supervisor “didn’t authorize asylum for them; that people from the state of Guanajuato aren’t eligible for asylum.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Return of Vulnerable Individuals

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

August 3, 2023

Reporting on August 3, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted receiving consistent reports of Mexican asylum seekers being removed or returned without undergoing fear interviews. Among those affected are two Mexican families who were belittled, made fun of, and returned to Mexico without being asked their reasons for requesting asylum. 

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, Border-Wide, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico

August 1, 2023

The Houston Chronicle, CNN, and Kristin Etter, an attorney and special project director at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, revealed that Texas state troopers working under the state government’s “Operation Lone Star” have begun to separate asylum-seeking fathers from their families. According to these accounts, CBP (usually Border Patrol) personnel are on hand to witness these separations; Texas authorities hand over the mothers and children to CBP custody.

On at least 26 occasions since July 10, Texas personnel have stopped parents with children, arrested the fathers for trespassing, and turned the mothers and kids over to Border Patrol. The fathers, taken to state prisons, have no way to know where their children or partners are.

In some cases, the Texas police have entrapped the families into “trespassing” by encouraging them to set foot on state or private property, even cutting concertina wire to allow them to do so. Texas police have also begun wearing green uniforms similar to those of Border Patrol, leading families to believe that they are turning themselves in to federal agents to seek asylum.

— Wermund, Benjamin, and Jhair Romero. “Texas Troopers Separating Families at Border in Apparent Policy Shift, Sources Say.” Houston Chronicle, August 2, 2023. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/abbott-border-parent-separations-18272489.php.

— Weisfeldt, Sara, and Rosa Flores. “Texas Is Separating Families at the Border in Apparent ‘harsh and Cruel’ Shift in Policy, Immigration Attorney Says.” CNN, August 2, 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/02/us/texas-border-policy-separating-families/index.html.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, Texas State Police

Event Type(s): Family Separation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit

July 30, 2023

Ronaldo Alvarado, a 25-year-old, off-duty Border Patrol agent, died of gunshot wounds to his head after a confrontation with local police in Brownsville, Texas.

Police responded to a civilian call, reporting that Alvarado, later identified by authorities, was armed, “highly intoxicated”, and “being extremely aggressive.” Police located his vehicle and attempted to pull him over, when Alvarado reportedly began shooting at the police from his vehicle and tried driving away from the scene.

An officer responded by firing back at Alvarado, causing him to slowly drive onto a private parking lot before crashing into a fence four blocks away. Officers found Alvarado “slumped over with an apparent wound to his head.” The responding officer broke through Alvarado’s window to provide emergency medical attention and found Alvarado’s weapon beside him. There is an ongoing investigation into the shooting.

— Morales, Mia. “MPD: Border Patrol Agent Dies from Gunshot after Officer-Involved Shooting.” ValleyCentral.com, August 1, 2023. https://www.valleycentral.com/news/local-news/mpd-man-leads-police-chase-recovering-after-gunshot-wound/.

— MyRGV.com. “Border Patrol Agent Involved in McAllen Police Shooting Dies,” July 31, 2023. https://myrgv.com/local-news/2023/07/31/border-patrol-agent-involved-in-mcallen-police-shooting-dies/.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Unethical Off-Duty Behavior

Last Known Accountability Status: Under Local Police investigation

Victim Classification:

July 26, 2023

Reporting on July 26, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted a case of a migrant requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso after fleeing gang violence in Ecuador. After turning himself in to Border Patrol Agents, he was immediately expelled to Ecuador under Title 42, and forced to restart his journey North, attempting to seek asylum again in Nogales. 

Admiel [name changed to protect privacy] fled gang violence in Ecuador. He began receiving threatening messages from gangs and shortly after, survived an attack by gang members. As he was leaving work with a colleague, gang members began following them and then attacked them, beating Admiel with a bat until he lost consciousness and fell into a coma for 4 days, which killed his coworker. Admiel quickly moved to another part of the country and filed a police report with the help of a lawyer. Just days later, the gang killed the lawyer. Admiel fled to the US-Mexico border to seek asylum. He turned himself into BP agents in El Paso, but was immediately expelled to Ecuador under Title 42. He was forced to start the journey north again and is now attempting again to seek asylum in Nogales, now with the asylum ban in place. 

Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP, El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Ecuador

July 20, 2023

Reporting on July 20, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted a case of a Mexican national seeking asylum near Sasabe, Arizona. The migrant was taken to a station and was detained for two nights, never given a fear interview. 

KBI described the incident, “They just took his fingerprints and information and then put him on a bus without saying where it was going. BP returned him to Mexico at 10:30 pm and he and others who were removed or returned had to walk through the city at night until they found a hotel and split the cost.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading, Return of Vulnerable Individuals

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico, Single Adult

July 20, 2023

Reporting on July 20, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted five cases of Mexican asylum seekers being deported without fear interviews to assess their eligibility for an asylum process. Among cases cited, a young mother fleeing Southern Mexico with her son and other family members turned themselves into Border Patrol to request asylum. The mother and child were separated from the family members they were traveling with and were not asked their reason for requesting asylum. Border Patrol made the young mother sign for her voluntary return. She and her son were sent to Nogales, Sonora at 9 pm, in violation of bilateral agreements that required the repatriation of unaccompanied women between the hours of 8 am and 6:30 pm. The mother approached Border Patrol agents at the Nogales Port of Entry for help in seeking asylum and was told by an officer that “they couldn’t do anything”. 

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Denial of Access to Asylum, Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Mexico

Mid-July 2023

According to The Intercept, dozens of migrants arriving at the border were being detained outside, amid a record-setting heatwave in Arizona. Two hours west of Tucson, the Ajo Border Patrol Station received an influx of migrants over the course of the week, roughly beginning on July 16th. While the station can process a couple hundred people a day, The Intercept reported that over 1,000 people had been turning themselves in at the border wall.

Although migrants were being detained outside, Border Patrol officials claimed the outside area was only being used for men, and that migrants had access to meals, water, and a large fan. They confirmed that once these migrants were screened, they were transported to other locations for processing. According to CNN’s report, Border Patrol claimed zero migrants had died in their custody since the beginning of the heat wave, despite the influx of arrivals. 

However, The Intercept revealed that officials refused to answer questions regarding how long people were being kept outside, whether or not children were being detained outside, or if the people detained outside were given emergency medical care. Intercept’s report also states that there was not a canopy above the outside area as Border Patrol agents claimed. 
As the heat worsened, many advocates worried about the safety of the migrants One official stated that by failing to provide resources such as proper heating or cooling equipment, it is essentially impossible for agents to abide by regulations of humane treatment. When interviewing agents anonymously for their report, many officials revealed that they were unaware of who signed off for migrants to be held outside. Some agents believed the treatment was “what they get for coming here illegally”, other agents were appalled at the conditions of the outdoor holding pen, and had liability concerns.

Weisfeldt, Sara, and Rosa Flores. “US Customs and Border Protection Sends Resources to Remote Arizona Area after Increase in Migrant Crossings.” CNN, August 5, 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/05/us/arizona-border-crossing-migrants/index.html.
Sullivan, Eileen. “This Agency Was Created With a Terrorism Focus. Now It Also Has to Care for Migrants.” The New York Times, July 13, 2023, sec. U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/13/us/politics/cbp-border-migrants-immigration-el-paso.html.
Devereaux, Ryan. “Border Patrol Violating Court Order Against Inhumane Treatment of Migrants, Officials Say.” The Intercept, August 28, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/08/28/border-migrants-arizona-cages/.
Devereaux, Ryan. “Border Patrol Is Caging Migrants Outdoors During Deadly Arizona Heatwave.” The Intercept, July 21, 2023. https://theintercept.com/2023/07/21/arizona-heatwave-border-patrol-migrants/.
Bosque, Melissa del. “Ajo Residents, Activists Protest Inhumane Conditions for Asylum Seekers.” The Border Chronicle, February 23, 2023. https://www.theborderchronicle.com/p/ajo-residents-activists-protest-inhumane.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Single Adult

July 12, 2023

In a Human Rights First report published on July 12, 2023, they described a case of  Mexican immigration officers blocking a Haitian minor who was pregnant from seeking asylum at the Matamoros port of entry. Humanitarian workers escorted the girl to the port of entry. Border Patrol officers told the humanitarian workers, “Sweetheart, we’re not going to take her.” The humanitarian workers responded by contacting U.S. officials by phone and were able to advocate for the migrant’s processing.

Asencio, Christina, Eleanor Acer, and Rebecca Gendelman. “Refugee Protection Travesty.” New York: Human Rights First, July 12, 2023. https://humanrightsfirst.org/library/refugee-protection-travesty/.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, Outside the United States

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Haiti, Teen, Unaccompanied Child

July 6, 2023

Reporting on July 6, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted a case of a mother and child fleeing from Guerrero to seek asylum in the U.S., after an organized crime group threatened to recruit her son after her husband fled to seek asylum in the U.S. to avoid recruitment. Once arriving at one of the ports of entry to request asylum, she was told that asylum was not offered there and forced to sign voluntary deportation or be detained and still not receive asylum. After signing,  Border Patrol deported her and her family to Nogales. 

Upon arriving at the border, to request asylum, the BP agent said “They didn’t do that there and told her she must sign a voluntary departure. She said she did not want to sign it because she could not go back, but another agent dressed in civilian clothing approached and said she either signs it there or signs it inside [in detention], but if she didn’t sign, she wouldn’t be able to get asylum.”

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Compelling Signature of English-Language Documents, Denial of Access to Asylum

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Female, Mexico, Single Adult

July 6, 2023

Reporting on July 6, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted a case of intimidation by Border Patrol agents to encourage a migrant’s signing of voluntary deportation, resulting in the separation of a grandfather from his two minor grandchildren who stayed in the U.S. under ORR’s custody. 

Among cases cited:

For instance, BP apprehended Alberto* [name changed to protect privacy] and his grandchildren who are fleeing violence. A BP agent asked him if he could return to Mexico to which he responded he could not. However, a second agent continued to ask with more pressure, “Can you return to your country, yes or no?”Alberto felt intimidated into saying yes. They asked nothing further and made him sign his deportation. Alberto and his 19 year old granddaughter were deported and separated from his 2 minor grandchildren, who stayed in the US under ORR’s custody.

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Denial of Access to Asylum, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Family Separation, Inappropriate Deportation, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Mexico

June 28, 2023

El Paso-based Border Patrol agent Fernando Castillo allegedly offered a migrant woman “papers” and the ability to stay in the United States in exchange for a $5,000 bribe, and stole $500 from her bag, according to court documents. (Original link)

The migrant woman reported the incident, eventually leading to Castillo being indicted by a grand jury on three counts of wire fraud, bribery by a public official and migrant smuggling following his arrest on June 28, according to federal court records.

— Ameer, Sana. “Report: Border Officer Asked for $5K Bribe to Let Migrant Stay in US.” Laredo Morning Times, August 2, 2023. https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/border-patrol-agent-bribe-18275015.php.

— “Border Patrol Agent Charged with Bribery, Allegedly Offered Immigration Benefits to Migran.” KOMO, July 28, 2023. https://komonews.com/news/nation-world/border-patrol-agent-accused-of-offering-migrant-immigration-papers-for-5k-fernando-castillo-el-paso-texas-us-mexico-border-immigration.

— “Castillo Criminal Complaint.” U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, June 28, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FtH87RvUPwZLM4Kg5koKrwR8djWql0KM/view.

— Resendiz, Julian. “Border Agent Allegedly Offered Woman ‘Papers’ for $5,000.” BorderReport, July 27, 2023. https://www.borderreport.com/immigration/border-crime/border-agent-allegedly-offered-woman-papers-for-5000/.

— Weisfeldt, Sara, and Rosa Flores. “US Border Patrol Agent Indicted on Bribery and Smuggling Charges for Allegedly Offering Migrant Immigration ‘papers’ for $5,000.” CNN, August 1, 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/01/us/us-border-patrol-agent-bribery-charge-migrant-papers/index.html.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Corruption, Non-Return of Belongings

Last Known Accountability Status: Criminal Charges Pending, Under Judicial Review

Victim Classification: Female, Single Adult

June 22, 2023

 Reporting on June 22, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), recounted the expansion of the U.S. administration’s immigration deterrence policies and its effects on migrants detained. 

Among cases cited:

Nicol*[name changed to protect privacy]  spent 3 months in detention, where she reported that guards pushed her and subjected her to inhumane detention conditions. At 3 am, detainees were forced to work in the kitchen and if they didn’t, they would be made to sleep on the floor without sheets or blankets. She was deported without her personal belongings and still in a jail uniform.

Kino Border Initiative. 2022. “Congressional Year End Report 2023.” Https://Www.Kinoborderinitiative.Org/Annual-Report/. Kino Border Initiative. https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Congressional-Year-End-Report-2023_.pdf.

Sector(s): Border Patrol, CBP

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Disregard of Public Health, Inappropriate Deportation, Non-Return of Belongings

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Single Adult