Note: This getting very wide play in Mexico. From my observations
over the years, think it is grossly exaggerated. That after being
witness to several captures, including across the street from my
house. Also in numerous conservations with a fairly wide sample of
illegals, usually over a cerveza or few, that has not been a subject
of complaint. Are there problems? For example facilities are often
overcrowded. Taking off the shoes can be a tactical measure,
although don't know of anyone forced to cross the desert that way.
Taking away medicines, maybe for verification? Ethnic and racial
slurs? Ever been in SW Phx or S. Tucson on a Sat. night? And, when
compared to treatment in Mexico, pretty much insignificant. BTW,
arrests of US citizens pretty routinely seems to be done with more
force than necessary. That is a problem. Law enforcement doctrine
needs some work.
Border agents mistreat migrants, report says
Many caught by Border Patrol in Arizona claim they were abused
by Daniel González - Sept. 21, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
A report by a humanitarian group based on interviews with thousands
of illegal immigrants caught by the Border Patrol in Arizona claims
agents threw unpackaged food on the floor for them to eat, took away
medicine for diabetes and other illnesses, made them sleep on
overcrowded cell floors and called them ethnic and racial slurs.
Migrants also complained of being shoved by agents into cactuses,
kicked and hit, made to walk in the desert without shoes and
subjected to sleep deprivation by agents who blared music in
detention centers, according to the 72-page report by the Tucson-
based group No More Deaths.
The report is to be released today in Tucson. Without addressing the
specific complaints in the report, a Border Patrol spokesman said the
agency does not tolerate acts of misconduct and mistreatment, and the
Border Patrol would cooperate with any investigation.
"Each and every Border Patrol agent has a responsibility to the
United States government and its citizens to place loyalty to the
Constitution and its laws and ethical principles above private gain,"
Agent Mario Escalante, a Border Patrol spokesman in Tucson, said in
an e-mail statement. "That duty should be carried out at all times
with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism."
No More Deaths provides water, food and medical assistance to illegal
immigrants along the Arizona border with Mexico as part of an effort
to reduce migrant deaths. This is the first time the non-profit group
has done a report based on a large number of migrant interviews. It
was triggered by a smaller report released by the group in 2008 based
on interviews with fewer than 400 migrants.
Volunteers from the group interviewed 12,895 migrants who had been
caught by the Border Patrol beginning in the fall of 2008 until the
spring of this year, the report said. The interviews took place in
shelters and other locations in the border towns of Naco, Nogales and
Agua Prieta, Sonora, after the migrants had been returned by the
Border Patrol to Mexico, the report said.
Katerina Sinclair, a statistical consultant and research associate at
the University of Arizona, oversaw the report separately from her
work at the university. She said the report was funded by donations
to No More Deaths and a grant from the Fund for Unitarian
Universalist Social Responsibility.
The main finding of the report "is that Border Patrol is acting with
impunity and that abuse is pervasive," she said. She said researchers
expected to find abuse limited to certain shifts or certain days of
the week by a small number of agents.
Instead, she said, "it was across the board. It was a horrible
violation of human rights, and I don't think that is what people were
expecting at all. We were deeply shocked."
Of the nearly 13,000 migrants interviewed, the report said 2,981
migrants complained of being denied food by Border Patrol agents and
11,384 migrants complained of receiving insufficient food. The most
common examples were being given only crackers, unpackaged food that
had been thrown on the floor or food that was uncooked, frozen or
The report said 863 migrants said they had been denied water and
another 1,402 said they received insufficient water. Children were
more likely than adults to be denied water or given insufficient
water, the report said.
Escalante, the Border Patrol spokesman, said migrants in custody are
provided snacks and juice every four hours, and detainees who are in
Border Patrol custody longer than eight hours are provided meals.
The report also said that 10 percent of the migrants interviewed said
they had either been physically abused or had witnessed physical abuse.
Jessica Vaughan, policy director of the Center for Immigration
Studies, a group in Washington, D.C, that favors strict immigration
enforcement, called the findings surprising.
"My experience in dealing with the Border Patrol has been that they
pride themselves on their professionalism and in not abusing
authority or anyone's human dignity," she said. "But certainly they
should be looked into."
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/