June 2022

An October 3, 2022 letter from a coalition of Arizona-based groups, led by ACLU Arizona, to CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus cites a case of U.S. border authorities confiscating a child’s medication and denying medical assistance.

The ACLU of New Mexico encountered a woman who was detained by Border Patrol agents in El Paso with her two children. Her five-year-old daughter has epilepsy and takes medication three times a day and follows a strict dietary regimen. Once she was detained by CBP, her daughter’s medications were taken away, and the family was refused any medical assistance until later that night, after her daughter began convulsing. Her daughter was taken from CBP custody to the University Medical Center (UMC) in El Paso where she stayed for two days. Doctors at UMC prescribed medications for four months, as well as Enfamil and PediaSure nutrition drinks for approximately one month. Once the child returned to CBP detention, CBP agents withheld the medicine and meal supplements prescribed by UMC staff. The mother was unable to obtain medication for her child until they were released to a shelter in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where her child once again had convulsions. While at the shelter, her child received medical care and medication.

— Several Arizona Non-Governmental Human Rights Groups. “Letter to CBP Regarding Treatment of Migrants’ Personal Belongings,” October 3, 2022. <https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/2022.10.03_letter_to_cbp_regarding_treatment_of_migrants_personal_belongings.pdf>.

Sector(s): El Paso

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Denial of Medical Care, Non-Return of Belongings

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Accompanied Child