Early May, 2023

Reporting on May 11, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI) recounted a case of family separation in Border Patrol custody.

Esme [name changed to protect privacy] fled southern Mexico with her sister and nephew. Esme’s sister has a disability that impedes her communication and comprehension. When they turned themselves into Border Patrol, the agents separated Esme from her sister and nephew, despite the legal document she had naming her as her sister’s legal guardian. CBP immediately expelled Esme while her sister and nephew remained detained. However, Esme’s sister did not have the contact information of her brother who would receive them in the US. Agents said if they couldn’t find family members in the US, they would remove her son to process him as an unaccompanied minor. Upon hearing they would be separated, her 9 year old son started crying and they asked to be expelled back to Mexico to remain together.

— “May 11 update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, May 11, 2023).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

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

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Disability, Family Unit, Mexico