Early December 2022

Reporting on December 15, 2022, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI) stated, “Over the past 2 weeks, KBI received 11 reports of Border Patrol (BP) confiscating personal belongings and never returning them. These reports include 3 deported people who explained that BP took thousands of Mexican pesos from them (1,000 pesos = $50 USD), leaving them unable to pay for transportation or basic necessities.”

Among cases cited:

Upon Fernando’s [name changed to protect privacy] apprehension, BP agents took most of his clothes, his phone, wallet and 4,400 Mexican pesos ($221 USD). They transferred him to US Marshals custody, where agents took the rest of his clothes and his Mexican ID and put them in a bag. After his court hearing, he heard agents saying he was to be deported the next day, but he tested positive for COVID and went to isolation for 9 days.

Afterwards, he was held under custody for 13 more days because BP said he had requested asylum, even though he had not. When he had an interview with an asylum officer, Fernando explained he had not requested asylum and wanted to be deported as soon as possible. The officer responded: “If you keep saying that and don’t calm down, you’re going to stay here even longer.” ICE officials then asked Fernando to sign a document saying he had received the $175.65 he had earned by working in detention, but they never gave him the money.

On December 7th, he was deported with none of his belongings, nor the money he had earned. He shared: “I had worked sometimes a shift of 12 hours to earn every $2 of that money.”

— “December 15 update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, December 15, 2022).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Non-Return of Belongings

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Mexico, Single Adult