3 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct in November 2020

Examples of abuses or other behaviors indicating need for reform at U.S. border and migration institutions

November 18, 2020

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expelled to Guatemala 32 unaccompanied children who had been encountered at the border. The expulsion came hours after U.S. Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered a halt to the Trump administration’s practice of expelling unaccompanied children under the Title 42 pandemic order.

On January 19, 2021—the Trump administration’s final day—DHS officials recognized before the court that the expulsion violated Judge Sullivan’s order, “adding that they will begin the process of getting the group back to apply for asylum,” BuzzFeed reported.

— Hamed Aleaziz, “US Officials Admitted They Violated A Court Order When They Expelled 32 Immigrant Children To Guatemala” (United States: BuzzFeed, January 19, 2021) https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/us-officials-violated-court-order-immigrant-children.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS, ICE

Event Type(s): Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor, Inappropriate Deportation, Violation of Court Order

Last Known Accountability Status: Under Judicial Review

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Unaccompanied Child

November 4, 2020

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK discussed the experience of a Guatemalan man who entered the United States, was detained by an Arizona state trooper, and ended up in Border Patrol custody.

The agents took him to a Border Patrol station. He expressed fear to the agents about returning to Mexico. The agents’ supervisor then said they will decide if they were going to send the Guatemalan man to Guatemala or Nogales. Later, he was taken to the border with a group of other immigrants by the Border Patrol. Everyone was asked to walk across the border to Mexico. He asked the agents why he was being sent to Mexico when he was Guatemalan. An agent hit him with a baton on the knee and threatened to hit him on the head. He was in a lot of pain and his knee became swollen. After that, some other agents came and told him to seek out the Guatemalan Consulate in Nogales and ask about his rights in Mexico. He walked to a park in Nogales, Sonora and slept in a park.

KBI spoke with the local CBP OPR representative on the same day they filed the complaint. OIG had already opened a complaint at this time. An OIG investigator followed up with KBI. Since that date, KBI has not received any updates as to consequences for the officer involved or whether the victim received any recourse.

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, Use of Force

Last Known Accountability Status: Complaint Filed with CRCL, Complaint Filed with OPR, Shared with DHS OIG, Under OPR Investigation

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Single Adult

November 2, 2020

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK discussed the experience of a Guatemalan woman who crossed the border and was “detained by CBP” with her one-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son.

At Tucson station, when they were being transferred, the Guatemalan woman asked where she was being taken; the CBP agent replied she did not know, but that they might take the woman’s fear declaration at the next station. The woman was taken to Nogales. The woman asked an agent to take her fear declaration, but the agent said CBP doesn’t do that in Nogales. Then the woman asked another agent who gave her food to take her fear declaration. That CBP agent didn’t speak Spanish and asked another agent to come over to interpret. She told them that a family member had been killed in Guatemala and that she also feared returning to Mexico as she had been robbed there. The agents told her that her case doesn’t matter since there are gangs in the U.S. too. The woman and her children were expelled to Mexico soon after.

KBI filed a November 6, 2020 complaint with the DHS Office on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). On January 4, 2021, CRCL emailed “that they received the complaint, recorded it in their 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, Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, Office of Field Operations

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

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

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Guatemala