7 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct where the event type is “Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor”

Mid-February 2022

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) reported about an unaccompanied minor’s expulsion by Border Patrol agents in Arizona:

An unaccompanied minor was apprehended by Border Patrol while crossing the desert west of Nogales. When being processed for expulsion, the agent taking his fingerprints asked his age. When he responded that he was 17, the agent repeatedly told him to shut up and say his real age. Eventually, the agent threatened him with detention, at which point the minor, scared by the threat, lied and said he was 19. He was expelled to Nogales.

“The expulsion of unaccompanied minors has been a recurring issue that we’ve reported throughout 2020 and 2021,” KBI notes. “In almost all of the cases, CBP officers accuse the minors of lying or refuse to accept their documentation proving their age.”

— “February 17 Update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, February 17, 2022).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of Minor, Abusive Language, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Unaccompanied Child

Mid-February 2022

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) reported about an unaccompanied minor’s expulsion, and separation from his brother, by Border Patrol agents in Arizona:

One week ago, two unaccompanied minor brothers were apprehended in the desert by Border Patrol. They were taken in for processing and questioned separately. The agents questioning the older brother, who is 17, told him he was lying. They said his birth certificate was fake and threatened him with a 10-year prison sentence if he didn’t say his real age. They eventually expelled him to Nogales and he did not know the whereabouts of his little brother.

“The expulsion of unaccompanied minors has been a recurring issue that we’ve reported throughout 2020 and 2021,” KBI notes. “In almost all of the cases, CBP officers accuse the minors of lying or refuse to accept their documentation proving their age.”

— “February 17 Update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, February 17, 2022).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abuse of Minor, Abusive Language, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor, Family Separation

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Unaccompanied Child

Late February, 2021

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

Last week 2 unaccompanied minors were returned to Nogales, Sonora under Title 42, despite guidance that these individuals should not be subject to expulsion. One of these minors was a 17-year-old Guatemalan girl who a Border Patrol agent accused of lying about her age. BP returned her to Mexico at 8PM, and she was forced to stay the night outside, until she found help in the morning.

— “March 4 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, March 4, 2021).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Dangerous Deportation, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Guatemala, Unaccompanied Child

November 18, 2020

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expelled to Guatemala 32 unaccompanied children who had been encountered at the border. The expulsion came hours after U.S. Federal District Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered a halt to the Trump administration’s practice of expelling unaccompanied children under the Title 42 pandemic order.

On January 19, 2021—the Trump administration’s final day—DHS officials recognized before the court that the expulsion violated Judge Sullivan’s order, “adding that they will begin the process of getting the group back to apply for asylum,” BuzzFeed reported.

— Hamed Aleaziz, “US Officials Admitted They Violated A Court Order When They Expelled 32 Immigrant Children To Guatemala” (United States: BuzzFeed, January 19, 2021) https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/us-officials-violated-court-order-immigrant-children.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): DHS, ICE

Event Type(s): Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor, Inappropriate Deportation, Violation of Court Order

Last Known Accountability Status: Under Judicial Review

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Unaccompanied Child

October 30, 2020

A New York Times, citing “a sharply critical internal email from a senior Border Patrol official,” revealed that U.S. border agencies have been using the Title 42 pandemic expulsion authority to send non-Mexican unaccompanied migrant children alone across the border into Mexico.

“Recently, we have identified several suspected instances where Single Minors (SM) from countries other than Mexico have been expelled via ports of entry rather than referred to ICE Air Operations for expulsion flights,” Border Patrol Assistant Chief Eduardo Sanchez wrote.

This appeared to violate agreements with Mexico for Title 42’s implementation. In addition, the Times explained,

The expulsions put children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador at risk by sending them with no accompanying adult into a country where they have no family connections. Most appear to have been put, at least at first, into the care of Mexican child welfare authorities, who oversee shelters operated by religious organizations and other private groups.

The number of times non-Mexican children have been expelled alone was not clear, the Times reported:

The human rights organization Women’s Refugee Commission, working with several other advocacy organizations, filed a public records request with Mexican authorities and received data suggesting that at least 208 Central American children had been returned to the custody of Mexican authorities between March 21 and June 5. But the Mexican authorities did not specify how many of the children were traveling alone, and not accompanied by adults.

Title 42 was employed much more frequently during the pandemic’s first eight months to expel unaccompanied non-Mexican children to their home countries by plane. That, the Times noted, involved being

held only briefly in Border Patrol facilities or in hotels before being sent to their home countries, often without any notification to their families ahead of time. Some have had to borrow cellphones when they arrive at airports to look for family members who may be willing to take them in.

— Caitlin Dickerson, “U.S. Expels Migrant Children From Other Countries to Mexico” (New York: The New York Times, October 30, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/30/us/migrant-children-expulsions-mexico.html.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor, Inappropriate Deportation, Return of Vulnerable Individuals

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Unaccompanied Child

Late September, 2020

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

Three unaccompanied minors were expelled to Nogales under Title 42 in late September. These children entered the United States in an attempt to seek asylum and reunite with their mother, after suffering abuse in the home of a family member in Mexico. In response, a Florence Project attorney accompanied the children to seek asylum at a Port of Entry in Nogales, advocating that the children receive a Credible Fear Interview. CBP turned the children away. Last week, the attorney tried again to accompany the children to the Port of Entry, this time to request humanitarian parole. Despite significant congressional advocacy and insistence by the attorney that the U.S. government uphold its obligation to these children under the Convention Against Torture, CBP informed the attorney that “no one without papers is allowed to enter at the southern border.”

— “October 15 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, October 15, 2020).

Sector(s): Tucson Field Office

Agency(ies): Office of Field Operations

Event Type(s): Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Domestic Violence Victim, Mexico, Unaccompanied Child

Late May 2020

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

Last week KBI received a Guatemalan child who had traveled north with the hope of attending school in the US. Although CBP officials have repeatedly told KBI that Border Patrol agents are directed not to expel unaccompanied children, this 16-year-old was expelled to Nogales, Sonora. The Border Patrol agent that interviewed him took away his birth certificate, told him it was fake, and accused him of lying about his age, before expelling him to Nogales, Sonora.

— “May 27 Update From KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, May 2020).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Confiscation of Documents, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Expulsion of Unaccompanied Minor

Last Known Accountability Status: Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees, Unknown

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Unaccompanied Child