Between Fall 2008 and Spring 2011, immigrant rights group No More Deaths interviewed 12,895 individuals who were or had been in U.S. Border Patrol custody, whose testimony painted a bleak picture.
According to the recently released No More Deaths report titled “A Culture of Cruelty,” 863 of those interviewed were denied water while in custody and 1,402 reported they had insufficient access to water, while only a fifth of those who were held for more than two days received a meal. Ten percent of interviewees, including children and teenagers, said they endured physical abuse.
Interviewees also described deportation practices that violate U.S. or international laws. For example, 1,051 women, 190 teenagers and 94 children were repatriated after dark, which is prohibited by a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Mexico.
The report recommends the United States establish an independent oversight commission to monitor Border Control practices and ensure the humane treatment of those in custody.
Immigration rights groups held events around the country to mark the report’s release. At the event in Detroit, activists criticized Border Patrol for conducting a raid outside a church during services in July. Ryan Bates, director of the Michigan office of the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform, told the Detroit Free Press the man arrested in that raid was a legal U.S. resident.