April 8, 2023

An analysis from the American Immigration Council’s Dara Lind recounted the case of a father who was killed in front of his children in Tijuana, several weeks after being turned away at the port of entry. This case is one of several testimonies collected by the American Immigration Council, as part of a lawsuit challenging CBP’s continued turnbacks of asylum seekers at ports of entry.

On April 8, the Mexican family came to the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and asked to be let into the United States to seek asylum, as they were fleeing immediate cartel violence in Mexico. The father had been shot and his arm was bleeding. According to the mother, their family begged the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to let them through the gates.

“We showed CBP officers my husband’s bleeding wound and explained the immediate danger we were in,” [the wife] testifie[d]. The officers refused. They told the family that since they didn’t have an appointment for the day via the CBP One app, they had no right to flee the cartel.

The family finally got a CBP One appointment in July 2023, but they had to exclude the father, since on May 1, while the family headed to the Tijuana airport in an attempt to flee to Canada, they were attacked again, resulting in a shooting that killed the father of the family. He died in front of his wife, their 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

— Lind, Dara. “CBP’s Continued ‘Turnbacks’ Are Sending Asylum Seekers Back to Lethal Danger.” Immigration Impact (blog), August 10, 2023. https://immigrationimpact.com/2023/08/10/cbp-turnback-policy-lawsuit-danger/.

Sector(s): San Diego Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

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

Accountability Status: Lawsuit or Claim Filed

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Mexico