Federal officers detail abuse described by asylum seekers

Federal officers detail abuse described by asylum seekers
© Customs and Border Protection

In a newly obtained government documents, federal officers detailed instances of asylum seekers being abused by other officers. 

The documents, which were obtained and released by Human Rights Watch, detail over 160 cases of misconduct by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, Border Patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials between 2016 and 2021.

The abuse was detailed in internal reports by personnel with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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In one example, a supervisor in the San Francisco Asylum office reported in 2017 that a young girl was molested by either a CBP or Border Patrol Officer. The supervisor was made aware of the incident from after another asylum officer who had just interviewed the child’s parent. 

The child was “apprehended by Border Patrol, sent to the Ice Box [a border holding cell], then this occurred: the young girl was forced to undress and touched inappropriately by a guard in the Ice Box wearing green, with the nametag [redacted],” the supervisory agent reported.

In another instance, a border patrol woman kneed a woman in the lower pelvis. In 2018, a CBP officer reportedly hit another asylum seeker so hard that he suffered brain swelling.

 The report also revealed that CBP officers in Chula Vista, Calif. called immigrants “sons of b---es, dogs, parasites, trash. Things like that.”

In a statement to The Hill, the Department of Homeland Security said it does “not tolerate any form of abuse or misconduct.” 

The agency further said that since DHS Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro Mayorkas'Remain in Mexico' opens old wounds among immigration advocates Hillicon Valley —TSA to strengthen rail sector cybersecurity TSA issues directives to rail sector to strengthen cybersecurity MORE has been in office, the office has “commenced an internal review” into its policies and training and use of force. The agency further said it has “increased the number of personnel in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and issued numerous memoranda that underscore the need to respect the dignity of every individual, fight against discrimination, and safeguard civil rights and civil liberties.”

The Biden administration has come under criticism in recent weeks over its treatment of Haitian migrants that gathered under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.   

CBP particularly came under scrutiny viral footage showed officers on horseback grabbing at Haitian migrants in Del Rio.   Mayorkas pledged an investigation into the incident, the results of which have not been released.