7 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct where the event type is “Inappropriate Deportation”

Late September, 2021

“Belone Mpembele, an asylum seeker from Angola, was expelled to Haiti by the United States due to its failure to provide access to the U.S asylum system or even screen individuals at the border in its rush to expel Haitians in September 2021,” reported Human Rights First. The Guardian reported from Port-au-Prince that the Angolan migrant “had never set foot in Haiti. ‘I told them I am not Haitian,’ said Belone Mpembele, as he emerged, dazed, from the terminal. ‘But they didn’t listen.’”

— Julia Neusner, Kennji Kizuka, “Illegal and Inhumane”: Biden Administration Continues Embrace of Trump Title 42 Policy as Attacks on People Seeking Refuge Mount (New York: Human Rights First, October 21, 2021) https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/illegal-and-inhumane-biden-administration-continues-embrace-trump-title-42-policy-attacks.

— Joe Parkin Daniels, “‘They treated us like animals’: Haitians angry and in despair at being deported from US” (Port-au-Prince: The Guardian, September 26, 2021) https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/sep/26/they-treated-us-like-animals-haitians-angry-and-in-despair-at-being-deported-from-us.

Sector(s): Del Rio

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, DHS

Event Type(s): Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Angola, Black

July 30, 2021

A report from the Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK described the improper expulsion into Mexico of a Guatemalan man, resident in Arizona, with documented status in the United States.

A Guatemalan man who has been in the United States since 2005 was detained in the desert while trying to pick up his wife. He went to pick her up, but they got lost in the desert. Eventually they called 911 for help. The Pima County Sheriff’s officer then detained them. Border Patrol arrived at the scene, and they were then handed over to them.

Despite having a work permit, which he tried to present to agents, he was not allowed to leave the checkpoint. He was not crossing the border. CBP officers then forced him to sign a document and put him in a vehicle and they told him he was going to be expelled under Title 42. He was expelled in Nogales.

KBI filed an August 9, 2021 complaint with the DHS Office on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). As of August 17, 2021, KBI had not yet received a response.

The same report described Border Patrol’s expulsion of the man’s wife who, though undocumented, had been in the United States since 2018 and thus should not have been subject to expulsion.

A Honduran woman who has been in the United States since 2018 was visiting a friend when they noticed a CBP checkpoint on the way. Fearing what may come, she got out of the car on the roadside to avoid the checkpoint because of her immigration status. She called her husband to pick her up, but he refused to come at first, fearing that he would be mistaken for a smuggler. Eventually, he came to get her, but they got lost in the desert and in the early hours of the morning called 911 to rescue them.

The Pima County Sheriff’s officer then detained her. CBP arrived at the scene, and she was handed over to them. She was not crossing the border. The CBP officers then forced her to sign a document and put her in a vehicle, telling her she was going to expelled under Title 42. She was expelled in Nogales.”

Due Process Denied (United States: Kino Border Initiative (KBI) and NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, August 2021) https://networklobby.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/KINO-NETWORK-CBP-Abuses-consolidated.pdf.

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Complaint Filed with CRCL, Complaint Filed with OPR

Victim Classification: Female, Guatemala, Honduras, Single Adult, U.S. Citizen or Resident

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

October 13, 2020

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff issued a scathing report about the activities of CBP personnel in Guatemala in January 2020 (original link). The CBP agents were in Guatemala on a support mission funded by the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

According to the report, the CBP personnel deployed near Guatemala’s border with Honduras and confronted a “caravan” of Honduran migrants directly, apprehending many of them—including families—and transporting them back into Honduras aboard unmarked, rented vehicles.

For months, the report alleges, the Department of Homeland Security failed to respond to Foreign Relations Committee staff inquiries, and lied to the State Deparment—which funded the agents’ presence—about the role that the CBP agents had played.

DHS Run Amok? A Reckless Overseas Operation, Violations, and Lies (Washington: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff, October 13, 2020) https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Final%20INL%20DHS%20Report.pdf.

Sector(s): Outside the United States

Agency(ies): CBP

Event Type(s): Evading Oversight, Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Congressional Investigation Closed

Victim Classification: Family Unit, Honduras

Early September, 2020

The Kino Border Initiative reported:

A Cuban woman, seven months pregnant, and who had been waiting for ten months with her husband to be processed for asylum in Nogales, recently attempted two border crossings in one day in a small Arizona border town. Despite the couple’s repeated expression of their fear of returning to Mexico to Border Patrol agents, the wife’s vulnerability as a pregnant woman, and the fact that Mexico has not agreed to receive Cubans under Title 42 expulsions, the two were quickly returned to Mexico both times. Rather than further assessing their fear claims, a Border Patrol agent instead suggested the woman might break her own water to prematurely induce labor as her only way to stay in the U.S.

— “September 3 Update” (Nogales: Kino Border Initiative, September 2020).

Sector(s): Tucson

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Abusive Language, Denial of Protection to Most Vulnerable, Inappropriate Deportation, Return of Vulnerable Individuals

Last Known Accountability Status: Complaint Filed with CRCL, Shared with Congressional Oversight Committees

Victim Classification: Cuba, Family Unit, Pregnancy

March 23, 2020

Voice of San Diego reported:

On March 23, U.S. Border Patrol officers stopped Gilmer Barrios at a checkpoint on I-15 north between Fallbrook and Temecula. Barrios, who had a pending immigration case to gain legal status in the U.S., was on his way home to Temecula from San Diego County when he passed an immigration checkpoint residents say has been largely dormant for years, but has become active again during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Border agents quickly deported Barrios to Tijuana. Barrios had an open case in U.S. immigration court, no prior deportation order and is a Guatemalan citizen—so if he was going to be deported, it shouldn’t have been to Tijuana. After 21 days in Tijuana, with help of the Guatemalan consul general in Los Angeles, he was brought back to the United States.

— “Border Patrol Activity in Rural North County Alarms Farmworkers, Advocates” (San Diego: Voice of San Diego, May 27, 2020 https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/immigration-enforcement-efforts-in-rural-north-county-alarm-farmworkers-advocates/.

Sector(s): San Diego

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Inappropriate Deportation

Last Known Accountability Status: Unknown

Victim Classification: Guatemala, Single Adult