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AILA Doc. No. 18122608 | Dated November 29, 2021
Conditions in CBP custody are notorious for their harshness and inadequacies. Whether inside or in outside holding “pens,” CBP detains migrants in dangerous conditions. These facilities can be dangerously overcrowded, migrants forced to wear soiled or dripping wet clothes for days, and the only “hot meal” offered are frozen burritos. These conditions came to the forefront when in 2019, children, many of whom were Indigenous children, died in CBP custody. Until the U.S. embraces a welcoming and more humane approach to receiving people at our border, suffering and the loss of life will continue.
Overlaying these conditions is the problem of the lack of accountability and oversight mechanisms for CBP. A Human Rights Watch report based on U.S. government documents detailed hundreds of internal reports of misconduct and serious abuse of asylum seekers at the hands of government officials at the border. These abuses included allegations of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, due process violations, harsh detention conditions, denial of medical care, and discriminatory treatment at or near the border. However, it is rare that individual officers or CBP leadership face consequences. For example, a recent House Committee on Oversight and Reform report revealed how little CBP did to discipline agents who posted violent and offensive Facebook posts.
Our country’s inability to hold CBP accountable for their actions towards people and children in their custody result in repeated grave violations of human rights at our southern border. Immediate and significant reform is needed to hold the U.S.’ largest law enforcement agency accountable.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18122608.
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