Fronteras Desk interviewed Yuma, Arizona-based advocate Fernando Quiroz, who monitors Border Patrol apprehensions of asylum-seeking migrants in the Yuma Sector. Quiroz discussed Border Patrol’s widely denounced confiscation of migrants’ belongings in the sector.
They [hundreds of migrants per day] bring backpacks, clothes, supplies, toys, money, important documents, and starting last year, Quiroz says much of it was being thrown in the trash when they were taken into custody. He took pictures of entire dumpsters filled with their belongings and he asked Border Patrol about it.
“They would say, ‘We here at this Yuma sector, we are not travel agents. We do not have the manpower, we don’t have the people, we don’t have the storage and it’s also a safety issue for us for these individuals to carry their backpacks or their belongings into our sector,’” Quiroz said. “So every single one, imagine every single day, from 400 to 1,000 individuals who are told, ‘Throw your backpack in the trash.’ It is heartbreaking. It typically is very heartbreaking. We’re talking about — this is all they have.”
…“I have here things that I have collected of individuals that have thrown in the trash, from prayer rugs to Bibles to Qurans to religious artifacts. It is sad,” Quiroz said.
— Lauren Gilger. “Border Patrol Made Migrants Throw Away Backpacks, Passports, Birth Certificates.” Fronteras Desk, September 15, 2022. <https://fronterasdesk.org/content/1810080/border-patrol-made-migrants-throw-away-backpacks-passports-birth-certificates>.