Being run over by a vehicle, beaten while handcuffed, and even threatened with rape they’re all examples of the treatment migrant children and teenagers have said they endured while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.
Some of the kids claim officers hit them for no reason. One boy said officers accused him of lying about his age and told him he’d be raped by an adult man if he didn’t tell the truth.
The documents, which ACLU of San Diego obtained through a FOIA request, relate to allegations of abuse made against Customs and Border Protection officers by people in custody, or made by people on their behalf, between 2009 and 2014. The documents predate the Trump administration but the ACLU says they’re indicative of a broader pattern of abuse and mistreatment within the Customs and Border Protection, one of the largest law enforcement agency in the country.
“This didn’t happen overnight,” Mitra Ebadolahi, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of San Diego, told VICE News. “For those of us who have been paying attention to those problems for many years, unfortunately much of what has happened more recently although devastating and truly horrifying is not necessarily surprising.”
Here are some of the allegations in the 35,000 pages of documents.
One 16 year old Guatemalan boy claimed he was verbally abused and strip-searched while in custody in 2013. He said two agents accused him of lying about his age and falsifying his documents, and then told him he’d be sexually abused by an adult detainee if he didn’t tell the truth. One of the agents told the boy to remove his clothing, searched him, and continued to interview him about his age while he was undressed, according to the incident report.
Another Mexican minor said officers in Texas verbally harassed him while they drove to a processing station. At one point, according to a May 2013 incident report filed by an officer, the agents took him out of the van and told him he was going to be raped. “Well take off my handcuffs so I can defend myself,” he replied.
The agents said the boy would be beat up if he resisted, according to the document. One agent also allegedly pulled out his pepper spray and held it to the boy’s face and told him he’d be sprayed if he fought back.
Source: Vice News