November 3, 2021

A report from the Border Network for Human Rights included the testimony of “L.L.,” who said she was invasively strip-searched by CBP Field Operations personnel at El Paso’s Santa Fe (Paso del Norte Bridge) Port of Entry.

I, L. L., want to tell you what happened to me on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. I went to Ciudad Juárez to buy medicine for my son. When I got to the Paso del Norte Port of Entry, the CBP officer asked me, “why did you go to Juarez?” I showed him the medicine that I bought with the prescription. The CBP officer told me I needed to go through a secondary inspection.

The CBP officer took me to a room with two female officers. One of them touched my private parts in a very strange way; the officer was a brunette, Hispanic, and robust woman who spoke to me in Spanish. The officer said, “tell me what you have.” I told her I only brought medicine for my son. The CBP officer then asked me to squat. When I questioned why I had to do that, the CBP officer stated it was a routine check, that for every ten people who cross, they stop one and check them this way.

I felt awful during and after the search, especially with the way they searched me. I am an American citizen, and I have never had any problems with anyone. I am afraid to go through a port of entry again because of that experience.

The Border Network for Human Rights stated that it shared this and other testimonies in its February 2022 abuse monitoring report “with the agencies involved.”

The State of Human Rights at the U.S. – Mexico Border: Abuse Documentation 2022 Campaign Report (El Paso, Border Network for Human Rights, February 22, 2022)

Sector(s): El Paso Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Wrongful Strip Search

Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, U.S. Citizen or Resident