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Human rights groups report: CBP, Border Patrol violations go unchecked

By Alisa Reznick
Published: Tuesday, August 8, 2023 - 12:02pm
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2023 - 10:42am

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A new report by a pair of human rights groups details a years-long tally of human rights abuses by Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents against migrants. 

The report comes from the Washington Office on Latin America and the Nogales-based aid group Kino Border Initiative.

Since 2015, the Kino Border Initiative said its documented various rights abuses and violations, including sexual harassment, intimidation and unauthorized use of force, against migrants.

Report co-author Zoe Martens said the group files complaints over those incidents with Homeland Security and CBP offices responsible for agency conduct, like CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility.

"These offices were created to take complaints about abuses or violations of human rights and civil rights to investigate them and create policy recommendations," she said. "But really, overall we’ve seen a lack of response from these offices and a lack of real accountability for these agents involved."

Martens said many incidents reported are sent to another office for review, and some of them are dropped entirely.

She said her organization filed 78 complaints between 2020 and 2022, including one in which a man was sent back across the border to Mexico after being hit and seriously injured by an agent on an ATV. Only two led to policy changes or disciplinary action. 

The Show also spoke with Martens about this report. 

Zoe Martens
Julius Schlosburg
Zoe Martens

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