2 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct where the event type is “Gender-Based Harm or Violence”

Late April, 2023

Reporting on April 27, 2023, the Nogales-based Kino Border Initiative (KBI), which maintains a migrant shelter in Nogales, Sonora, stated, “Similar to reports Kino documented from people who were laterally expelled to Nogales, MX in 2021, expelled asylum seekers reported many common abuses, such as Border Patrol agents throwing away all their clothing, handcuffing them at the feet, waist and hands for hours at a time, denying basic hygiene items and access to showers for up to a week, and misleading them to believe they were going to see an immigration judge, only to be expelled through another part of the border.”

Among cases cited:

– Briseida [name changed to protect privacy] turned herself in to BP. She was detained for 5 days. She asked to be able to shower because she was menstruating, but the BP agent did not allow her to shower. She also requested sanitary pads, which they never provided to her.

– After turning himself in to BP, Jair [name changed to protect privacy] was detained for 10 days. He was only allowed to shower 1 time and he was never allowed to brush his teeth.

– Olivia [name changed to protect privacy] was detained for 5 days, during which she was allowed to shower only 1 time. She only had the clothes she was wearing when she arrived, as they took away all her other clothing. They confiscated the underwear she was wearing and gave her a pair of underwear that was too small. She had to rip them to be able to wear them. She was never allowed to make a phone call while she was detained, not even to let her family members know she was alive. BP put her on a plane and she could not eat or drink anything on the plane because she was chained at the hands, waist and feet the entire time.

— “April 27 update from KBI” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, April 27, 2023).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Disregard of Public Health, Gender-Based Harm or Violence

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Single Adult

October 12, 2022

A report published by Oxfam America and the Tahirih Justice Center includes this example of gender-based harm in Border Patrol custody, gathered from a February interview with a migrant woman.

A painful example, shared by a provider recalling a client who had been detained by CBP [59] at the border, highlights the ways in which US officials ignore women’s needs. This client, a young woman, was forced by CBP to spend over 72 hours in a cell without access to sanitary items she needed for menstruation while being harassed by a CBP officer:

“She was held in a holding cell that you’re not supposed to be in for more than 72 hours, like right at the border, but she was there for…maybe five days…She was held for significantly longer than she was supposed to be and was only allowed to be in her underwear. She was on her period and was given no menstrual sanitary items—pads, tampons or anything…[She was] forced to sit there cold in her underwear with this one officer that she said she felt like had it out for her…[he would] say really mean things to her and not let her sleep and make her get her little kid up who’s only five.” [60]

— Duvisac, Sara, and Irena Sullivan. “Surviving Deterrence: How Us Asylum Deterrence Policies Normalize Gender-Based Violence.” United States: Oxfam America, Tahirih Justice Center, October 12, 2022. <https://www.tahirih.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Oxfam_Tahirh_Surviving-Deterrence_English_2022.pdf>.

Footnotes from above:

[59] We use the term “CBP” because the vast majority of our interview respondents refer to US officials at the border as “CBP.” These officials are most likely Border Patrol agents.

[60] Interview 13, February 2022.


Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Conditions in Custody, Denial of Medical Care, Gender-Based Harm or Violence

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Female, Single Adult