6 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct involving “Border Patrol” where the victim classification is “Domestic Violence Victim”

Early July, 2021

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

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.

— “July 8 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, July 8, 2021).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Sexual Assault or Harassment

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Domestic Violence Victim, Female, Sexual Abuse Victim

Mid-June, 2021

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

A woman fleeing with her children from domestic violence reported that Border Patrol agents laughed at one of her daughters when she told them she was crying because of the abuse she’d suffered. Once the family was taken to a Border Patrol station, another agent reportedly yelled at the mother after she had expressed that she could not return to her country for fear of further violence, saying “look, you’re here as a migrant. You didn’t have a reason for crossing into this country. You’re going back to your country as you arrived, or worse.”

— “June 24 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, June 24, 2021).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child, Domestic Violence Victim, Family Unit, Female

April 2, 2021

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK recounted a Guatemalan asylum seeker’s experience in custody in Border Patrol’s outpost at Sasabe, Arizona, and station in Tucson, Arizona.

A Guatemalan woman crossed into the United States walking through the desert. She became ill and fainted. When she came to, a Border Patrol Agent was standing over her. She was taken to an outpost and processed.

There, she told the agents about the violence she had faced, and that she had proof of threats she had received. The agent said he didn’t speak Spanish but that she should take it up with officers at the next station. In Tucson, she was made to remove her outerwear (her jacket and two shirts and a pair of pants) even though the facility was cold.

She was sent into room with a TV, and on the TV screen it said that if anyone was experiencing violence, they should speak to an agent. She then called the agents and said she wanted to apply for asylum. They told her that was unavailable because of the pandemic. The agents started yelling at her that she should have gone to a port of entry if she wanted asylum, and that she was breaking the law by coming this way. They said to her that she was doing what the mafia does, crossing the border illegally.

Additionally, officers threw the name of her abuser in her face and taunted her, telling her they were going to call him. She felt humiliated by the agent’s actions. By this time, she had had three separate agents decline to help her apply for asylum. She was expelled to Mexico the next morning.

As of 8/17/2021, KBI has received no response to this complaint [filed on June 15, 2021].

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): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable

Last Known Accountability Status: Complaint Filed with CRCL, Complaint Filed with OPR

Victim Classification: Domestic Violence Victim, Female, Guatemala, Single Adult

January 31, 2021

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK described a Honduran woman’s inability, while in Border Patrol custody, to seek asylum and avoid Title 42 expulsion into Mexico.

A Honduran woman fled domestic abuse from a partner in Honduras who is connected to organized crime. She filed a police report in Honduras and he threatened her even more.

While traveling through Mexico, she feared being forced into prostitution to survive. She was able to avoid this. On the way to the United States, she was kidnapped by the cartel and ransomed for one thousand dollars. When a friend was able to pay the ransom, the cartel dropped her and 38 others off in the desert.

Once she entered the United States through the desert she was detained by Border Patrol. At that time, she told the Border Patrol agent she wanted a lawyer to claim asylum. The agent said she will be able to ask for one at the next facility. At the next facility she asked again and said she needed help to file for protection. The agent she spoke to at that facility knew Spanish. This agent said he couldn’t do anything about it and that she could tell someone in the next facility she will be transferred to. Then she was taken to the Tucson Border Patrol station where she told another agent she wanted a lawyer to file for asylum. The agent said he was not going to violate immigration law for her or anyone else. He said she did not have rights because she arrived illegally. She tried to tell her story of violence and persecution to several other agents, but the first one didn’t allow her to speak to anyone else and just shouted at her to get on the bus.

She was expelled to Nogales, Sonora. She fears that Mexico is also unsafe for her since it is where the cartel who kidnapped her operates. While in Mexico, she has been “approached by men in a dark vehicle” and she worries that she will be attacked.

KBI filed a February 5, 2021 complaint with the DHS Office on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). On February 25, CRCL emailed “that they received the complaint, recorded it intheir database, and no further actions would be taken. 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): Dangerous Deportation, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Lying or Deliberate Misleading

Last Known Accountability Status: Complaint Filed with CRCL, Complaint Filed with OPR, No Further Action

Victim Classification: Domestic Violence Victim, Female, Honduras, Kidnap Victim

July 5, 2020

A report from the Border Network for Human Rights included the testimony of “P.G.L.,” a legal permanent U.S. resident whose partner was detained by Border Patrol in Sunland Park, New Mexico. He believes that agents racially profiled him and his partner, and used abusive language with them.

My name is P.G.L., and I am a resident of Sunland Park, New Mexico. My partner and I have been victims of harassment and discrimination by the Border Patrol. On Jul. 5, 2020, at around 9 a.m., we were followed by a truck and a border patrol SUV two blocks from my house. We were on our way to work and stopped at my son’s house, but he wasn’t there, so we headed to Mesa Verde St. when they stopped us.

They asked us where the bodies were of those we were going to pick up. I responded that we did not do that type of work. I told them my boss lived a street away, and I am a roofer. This was when an officer asked me to show him my legal documents. My partner was asked first, and she responded that she had a border crossing visa. Then they asked me, and I told them I did not have them with me but that I was a legal permanent resident (LPR). They did not believe me and thought I was lying.

One officer started investigating my partner. They told her they were going to arrest her and then gave her an option to either see an immigration judge or be sent back to Mexico since her visa was still valid and she could use it to come back. The officers became very rude and had my partner get into their truck. I was unable to speak to her. They took me back to my house to get the proof that I was an LPR. I asked them to allow me to speak to my partner because she was the one who knew where my documents were, but they refused and continued to be rude. I went inside the house to show them the proof, and I brought my partner a backpack and her purse.

I have been communicating with my partner over the phone. She tells me she is doing fine, but she is worried about her two daughters because they had to stay with their aunt. Her daughters are both U.S. citizens; they are 12 and 10 years old.

I am worried about my partner’s daughters’ safety; they fled because of domestic violence from their biological dad. I feel that I was discriminated against because of my appearance; for being Hispanic. Now I am scared to drive and be stopped again. I also want to add that a week before this incident, I had been followed and stopped by the same officer, questioned, and let go. Although at the time I had not paid attention to his name, I recognized him this time. I felt I had been harassed by the border patrol.

The Border Network for Human Rights stated that it shared this and other testimonies in its February 2022 abuse monitoring report “with the agencies involved.”

The State of Human Rights at the U.S. – Mexico Border: Abuse Documentation 2022 Campaign Report (El Paso, Border Network for Human Rights, February 22, 2022) https://bnhr.org/abuse-documentation-2022-campaign-report/.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Dangerous Deportation, Racial Discrimination or Profiling

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Domestic Violence Victim, Single Adult, U.S. Citizen or Resident

Late May 2020

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

A young Guatemalan woman arrived in Nogales last week after fleeing domestic violence. Her partner had beaten her and her children. When she left him, he threatened to take away her children and continued to look for her to beat her children. When she crossed into the US to seek asylum, Border Patrol expelled her under Title 42 without giving her access to a fear assessment.

— “May 27 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, May 2020).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Domestic Violence Victim, Female, Guatemala