This is horrible and shameful news, so we’ll get straight to the point.
Over the last 5 years, migrants have suffered more than 30,000 incidents of abuse and mistreatment while in Border Patrol custody, according to a shocking new report by humanitarian organization No More Deaths. Many of the abuses plainly meet the definition of torture under international law.
In interviews conducted by No More Deaths, thousands of migrants reported being denied food, water, and medical treatment, being kicked and hit, being forced to walk in the desert without shoes, and subjected to sleep deprivation by agents who blared music in detention centers. (See Jorge’s story below, just one of thousands who have been abused by the U.S. Border Patrol.)
March 15, 2010: Jorge, 27, from Guatemala
Six Border Patrol agents, including some on horses and motorcycles, surrounded his group of 10. He was thrown onto the ground face first and an agent hit him on the side with the butt of a gun while agents yelled insults. Jorge was held for three days in the Tucson processing center. When he repeatedly asked to see a doctor, he was denied. Agents threw out any food the detainees had and provided none even when it was requested; over the course of three days, they received only packets of crackers. Jorge now suffers chronic stomach pain as a result of going so long without eating. Border Patrol also took everyone’s clothes except a t-shirt and pants and then turned on the air conditioning. Jorge says his belongings, including his birth certificate and $100 U.S. currency, were confiscated and not returned. Jorge has a cousin and father who live in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lived for 10 years before being deported. He was apprehended by Border Patrol as he attempted to return to them.
This systemic abuse must be confronted at the institutional level; it can no longer be dismissed as a series of rare incidents committed by a few “bad apples.” As No More Deaths notes in their report, the abuse, neglect, and dehumanization of migrants “is part of the institutional culture of the Border Patrol, reinforced by lack of meaningful accountability.”
No More Deaths has made good faith efforts to engage the existing system, filing over 75 complaints with Office of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties (CRCL). But, no justice has been achieved in a single case and the Border Patrol continues to deny any wrongdoing.
We must get several thousand signatures on this petition right away in order to get President Obama’s attention, so please share after signing.
Thanks for standing up for migrant rights today!