The Border Patrol Was Monstrous Under Obama. Imagine How Bad It Is Under Trump.

UPDATE: On May 23, CBP issued a statement calling our report unfounded. Our point-by-point rebuttal is here.

On a December morning, Border Patrol agents confronted a 15-year-old high school student named Jahveel Ocampo at a rest stop in California while she and her friends were on their way to the mountains to see the winter’s first snow. Jahveel was a young child when she came to the United States from Mexico with her parents, and she grew up undocumented in southern California. She was a mother to a 2-year-old child, who was a U.S. citizen.

An agent in a blue jacket asked whether Jahveel was an “illegal.” He handcuffed her and drove her to a Border Patrol station in the border town of Campo. There, he slapped her twice on the buttocks and ordered her into a cell. He and another male agent told her to sign an “order of voluntary departure,” a deportation order. She refused.

Then the threats began. One agent said, in Spanish, according to the complaint she filed later, “Right now, we close the door, we rape you and f*** you. If you cooperate with us, we can deport you to Mexico. Otherwise, we will take you to jail and deport your entire family.” They told her that her child would end up in foster care.

Terrified and alone, Jahveel signed.

If you assumed this abuse happened during the Trump administration, think again. Jahveel was threatened in 2009 by President Obama’s Border Patrol, and her treatment was not an isolated incident. Her case is part of a pattern of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by Customs and Border Protection officials against child immigrants that existed long before President Trump emboldened the agency by unleashing its officers to enforce his draconian immigration policies.

We have received more than 30,000 pages of internal government documents detailing this abuse between 2009 and 2014 throughout the southern border region. These records, obtained through an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent litigation, offer a glimpse into an immigration enforcement system that had been plagued by brutality and lawlessness long before Trump was elected.

Customs and Border Protection — the Border Patrol’s parent agency — is now the largest law enforcement organization in the United States, with more than 60,000 employees and a fiscal year 2018 budget of $16.4 billion. And while the number of people crossing the border without documents has dropped significantly, Trump has said he wants to hire thousands more Border Patrol agents while deploying the National Guard to the border to bolster its forces. Now the federal government has created a policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, which could dramatically increase the number of minors encountering immigration officials by themselves and create potential for expanded abuses.

Our FOIA request yielded documents from four agencies in the Department of Homeland Security. On Wednesday, the ACLU and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law released a report that includes documents from one agency, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, a DHS oversight agency. We will release additional documents from the other three agencies in the coming months.

The records show that the leadership at Customs and Border Protection were well aware of the allegations of unlawful child abuse — including people still now directing the agency — yet there is no indication that any individual official was ever held accountable for abuse.

In one complaint we obtained, a Border Patrol agent grabbed a girl he claimed was running away, handcuffed her to someone else and dragged them together along the ground, causing “two bruises on her neck, scratches to her shoulders and arms, and thorns in her head.” A 16-year-old recounted that a Border Patrol agent threw him down before he used his boot to smash his head into the ground.

Other children allege that agents assaulted them with their feet, fists, flashlights, and Tasers. In one case, an agent ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then got out and punched the child in the head and body. Often, children noted that other agents witnessed the abuse or saw the injuries but refused them medical attention. In one case, agents accused a pregnant minor of lying about the pain — which turned out to be labor contractions preceding a stillbirth.

The abuse was also sexual. During an arrest in the desert in Phoenix, Arizona, an agent grabbed a child’s buttocks and only stopped when she screamed and another agent approached. In another incident, a 16-year-old girl reported that a Border Patrol agent forcefully spread her legs and touched her genitals so hard she screamed in pain.

President Trump was endorsed by the Border Patrol union, which had never previously endorsed a presidential candidate. If the abuses were this bad under Obama when the Border Patrol described itself as constrained, imagine how it must be now under Trump, who vowed to unleash the agents to do their jobs.

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Anonymous

Yep, that makes me want to join the Democrats Party (that was sarcasm). Thank you for reminding me to vote against the party that hates me in November.

John Delduca

ALL THE CHARGES IN THIS ARTICLE ARE HEARSAY AND NOT VALIDATED BY FACTS. IN OTHER WORDS RUMORS .

Anonymous

America needs an enema. That's the main reason Trump was elected.

Stephanie

“The report, based on a portion of the more than 30,000 pages of government records we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, identifies numerous cases of serious alleged misconduct by CBP officials between 2009 and 2014, focusing on the agency’s verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of migrant children.”

Anonymous

All these are allegations not supported by facts . Strictly fabrications designed by ultra-liberals to breed discontent and promote open borders . Even if true , none of the allegations would accurate IF THE PURPORTED VICTIMS HAD OPTED NOT TO BECOME AN ILLEGAL.

Anonymous

WASHINGTON — Assertions from the White House that immigration-enforcement agents had their hands tied in the last administration are difficult to square with the massive deportations of Barack Obama’s presidency.

President Donald Trump’s press secretary made a claim about two agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection:

SEAN SPICER: “For so long, the people at ICE and CBP had their hands cuffed behind them.” The Obama administration had so many exceptions for who could be adjudicated “that it made it very difficult for the customs and enforcement people to do their job and enforce the laws of this country.”

THE FACTS: Whatever constraints agents might have faced, they deported more than 2 million immigrants during the eight years Obama was in office, more than in previous administrations. They sent back 409,000 in 2012 alone, a record.

Republican lawmakers and some ICE officials did complain that they were directed to ignore some immigrants found living in the country illegally if they didn’t have serious criminal histories or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Spicer outlined a similar priority, saying enforcement would focus “first and foremost” on those who have a criminal record or post a risk to the public. Still there’s little question that enforcement will be broadened.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has signed a pair of memos that eliminate the Obama-era enforcement rules and made clear that nearly any immigrant caught living in the country illegally — not just those with a criminal record — will now be a target for deportation.

June

Fuck you Anonymous and your Nazi Jackboots and salutes to Heil Trumptard. FYI, I am not a liberal and I hate the way you assholes hijavked my party.

Tina

All these comments are Anonymous. So sad. Is this all anyone has to say? This is despicable. America needs immigrants. Japan is fading fast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXLnE9DmH1M

Anonymous

Like "Tina" identifies you. It may be your name but which of the hundreds of thousands of Tinas in the world are you? You might as well be anonymous. That's why I do not bother adding a name.

Anonymous

Stop trying to blame Obama for this. He had way more on his plate to clean up. And he did approve for the DREAMERS act. Trump is clearly divisive.

The problem is with these Border Patrol officers breaking the law. They need to be wearing body cameras at all times and prosecuted when they break the law.

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