Early May, 2023

A June 9 Human Rights First report shared Venezuelan women’s accounts of being “separated by Border Patrol from their respective family groups and/or others they were traveling with after crossing into the United States near Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico during the final days of Title 42.”

A woman seeking asylum from Venezuela, Xóchitl [name changed for privacy], was separated by Border Patrol from her husband, subsequently expelled under Title 42 alone 1200 miles away to Nogales, and struggles to seek asylum in wake of Biden asylum ban:

“[Border Patrol] asked if there were any married couples. We told them we were married and had our legal marriage certificate. We were then separated. I spent four very cold nights in a soft-sided tent without any information on my husband. I was then handcuffed at the wrists, ankles, waist and transported by plane with 200 other women, still not told what was happening or where my husband was. I was then returned through Nogales, Mexico alone with these other women. Only once in Nogales did I hear from my husband. He had been returned back to Matamoros.

It was horrible. The [Border Patrol] officers mocked us. There were many women crying and they [the officers] would laugh. When they boarded us on the plane, we weren’t even told where we were going. They crossed us back to Nogales without giving us any information, not even the name or location of a shelter.”

“Xóchitl’s” husband was later processed for asylum in Brownsville, Texas and paroled into the United States. As of the Human Rights First report’s publication, “Xóchitl, meanwhile remains alone in Nogales. She was waiting in line outside the port for over two weeks.”

— Asencio, Christina. “A Line That Barely Budges.” Human Rights First, June 9, 2023. https://humanrightsfirst.org/library/a-line-that-barely-budges-u-s-limiting-access-to-asylum/.

Sector(s): Rio Grande Valley, Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Family Separation

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Married Adults, Venezuela