© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent monitors single-adult male detainees in McAllen (Texas), U.S. July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Veronica G. Cardenas
(Reuters) – Since 2016, U.S. immigration officers documented dozens upon dozens of instances in which migrants claimed that U.S. border agent physically abused them. These incidents were reported by Human Rights Watch records released on Thursday.
New York-based non-profit sought copies of U.S. asylum officers’ internal reports detailing alleged misconduct by Customs and Border Protection agents. Although the records contained allegations regarding verbal abuse and other violations of migrants’ rights, they were severely redacted. The documents covered three administrations, each with a different approach to immigration policy.
U.S. immigration law states that migrants who are arrested at the border by agents will be referred to U.S. asylum officers for interview. Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS), if migrants express fears of their return to home countries. According to records, migrants spoke out about physical and verbal abuses by U.S. border agent during the interviews.
Most migrants were expelled from their homes without being allowed to apply for asylum since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security oversees CBP as well as USCIS. A spokesperson for this agency stated that it “doesn’t tolerate any kind of abuse or misconduct.” Biden was inaugurated in January. The spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stated that the agency had begun an internal examination of the use force and “to identify or terminate intolerable prejudice.”
A 2017 internal report claims that a border agent beat a woman, drawing blood and then kneed her at the pelvis.
According to another report, the migrant claimed that in June 2018, he was attacked by an American border patrol dog. The attack caused him severe injuries and left his testicle scarlet. The documents show that he claimed he wasn’t treated for approximately a month during his time in custody.
Internal reports indicate multiple instances of verbal abuse. A migrant hailing from Honduras said that border agents “called us sons if bitches dogs parasites trash.” One asylum applicant claimed border agents told him that his mother gave birth “to rats,” according the records.
Although Joe Biden is a Democrat and has promised a more humane approach than Donald Trump’s Republican predecessor, advocates are disappointed by the slow pace at which reforms have occurred.
Recent criticisms have focused on CBP’s use of horseback border agents to try and stop large groups mostly Haitian migrants from crossing south Texas. They did this in an effort to discredit the Mexican Border Patrol.
Biden has been criticised by Republicans for failing to do enough to stop migrant crossings. Recently, apprehensions at Southwest Border have exceeded previous records.
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