Border Agents Abusive: Suits
Lawyers criticize 'culture of impunity' at Customs and Border Protection
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2013 10:26 AM CDT
In this Oct. 2, 2012 file photo, US Customs and Border Protection officers and other law enforcement drive the roads in Bisbee, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – US border agents are being accused of a series of abuses around the country, in what immigration advocates are calling a "culture of impunity" at Customs and Border Protection, reports the USA Today. The 10 plaintiffs in the lawsuits range from a 4-year-old New York girl who was prohibited from re-entering the country after a trip to Guatemala because her parents are illegal immigrants to a 63-year-old woman reportedly kept in a car for eight hours without food or water. "I don't think these are isolated cases," says the director of one advocacy group.

In one of the more egregious-sounding cases, four people claim they were kept in a freezing, bed-less, toilet-less cell that agents called the "hielera" (meaning "icebox") for up to six days while awaiting deportation hearings in Texas. "Based on having heard this from many, many people, and having each of them describe the same temperatures, it became clear to us that they didn't just have a great air-conditioning system," says their lawyer. Advocacy groups say that the growth of the CBP to 21,000 agents in 2012 from just 4,000 in 1993 has exacerbated the agency's problems. A CBP spokesperson said the organization does not "tolerate misconduct or abuse."

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
Mar 14, 2013 8:56 PM CDT
Corruption, abuse and insensitive human beings.... No way! There are so many fucked up people in positions of power who abuse it daily in every country and it's a shame this world isn't filled with enough compassionate ones. The mind is a fragile thing and some people just emotionally and mentally lose it which is why is here to remind me ever day just how screwed up this world is.
Mar 14, 2013 4:36 AM CDT
If this is such an awful place don't come here? Agents are daily shot at, hit with stones, and God knows what else.
Mar 13, 2013 7:35 PM CDT
How about applying for a visa and come across legally? To complicated for you?