Border Patrol abuses of migrants, Kino Border Initiative report says

2013-02-18T00:00:00Z 2013-02-21T09:15:11Z Border Patrol abuses of migrants, Kino Border Initiative report saysPerla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A border organization has released a new report that alleges systematic abuse of illegal immigrants by the Border Patrol, including not allowing them to contact their consulate.

The report from the Kino Border Initiative focuses on five main issues affecting migrants, including violence and abuse faced by crossers on both sides of the border.

The report said one in four illegal immigrants surveyed reported being abused in some way by the Border Patrol, with verbal aggression being the most common.

Also, border agents "systematically" deny illegal immigrants the opportunity to contact the Mexican Consulate, the report states.

Officials with Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, did not respond to a request for comment.

Illegal immigrants are often the victims of theft, violence, and physical, verbal and sexual abuse at the hands of criminal gangs, human smugglers, human traffickers and thieves, the Kino Border Initiative report said.

Immigrants also face abuse and misconduct from police in Mexico.

The Kino Border Initiative, based in Nogales, Ariz,. and Nogales, Sonora, has an aid center for deported immigrants and a shelter for women and their children. Along with two Jesuit groups, it published the report "Documented Failures: The Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border."

"We are very concerned about this situation because we feel it's a violation of human rights," said the Rev. Sean Carroll, executive director of the initiative.

The report is based on surveys from nearly 5,000 illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America conducted from March through August 2012.

In 2011, a Tucson-based immigrants' rights group released a report saying people caught trying to cross the border illegally are regularly deprived of food and water, denied medical treatment, separated from family members and not given their belongings back.

A Border Patrol spokesman said at the time that agents are required to treat all of those they encounter with respect and dignity, and to make every effort to make sure people in their custody are given the attention they need.

Mexican consular officials work to protect Mexican citizens and safeguard their rights and interests, Socorro Cordova, spokeswoman for the network in Arizona, said in an email.

"The border dynamic is complex, and attending to it requires the full efforts of both governments and their civil societies," she said. "The government of Mexico maintains its commitment to work with all actors involved in order to make the border a region of opportunity, safety and shared well-being."

The new report also found about 25 percent of those deported were separated from their immediate relatives.

Department of Homeland Security policy is to keep families together whenever possible.

Among other things, the report recommends limiting family separation during the deportation process and curbing abuse by authorities on both side of the border.

Carroll said the groups published the report in hopes of addressing these issues with authorities from both sides of the border.

"I do believe they can be solved and would like to work with the authorities to help solve these issues," he said.

On StarNet: Find extensive coverage of immigration issues at azstarnet.com/border

Online

To read the report go to www.kinoborderinitiative.org and click on "blog."

Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at ptrevizo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4213. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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