RESOURCES: A Culture of Cruelty

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Photo from the report, "A Culture of Cruelty"
Photo from the report, "A Culture of Cruelty"

The report A Culture of Cruelty is the culmination of three years of  documentation of abuse committed by the Border Patrol against detainees and migrants. The data was collected and carried out by No More Deaths, an organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative, and their partners in Naco, Agua Prieta, and Nogales, Sonora- border towns and cities through which thousands of immigration detainees have been deported.

The report finds that instances of mistreatment and abuse in Border Patrol custody are not aberrational; rather, they reflect common practice for an agency that is part of the largest federal law enforcement body in the country. Many of them plainly meet the definition of torture under international law. (No More Deaths)

The following excerpt was recorded by staff from No More Deaths, and can be found in A Culture of Cruelty at the bottom of the report, along with hundreds of other accounts of abuse:

January 29, 2011, with Imelda and two anonymous women. They were held together at the Tucson Border Patrol facility and reported witnessing a woman in their cell who was coughing so badly that she threw up. The woman continued to throw up violently over and over. The other women in the cell called for help. An officer came over and said, “Que se muera!” (let her die) and refused to do anything. They found out that the woman has asthma and had an inhaler in her backpack when she was picked up. It was confiscated and when she asked for it back the officers refused. Imelda could see the officer’s name badge who had said “Que se muera” and it appeared to be J. Donald or Donalt. Imelda and the other women also said that there were eight women in their cell and the only food they received in 24 hours were three burritos, which an agent threw onto the ground. They hit the floor, opened, and the beans flew all over the floor. When they asked for more food, a Border Patrol agent told them, “No es una fiesta!” (This is not a party). Additionally, while they were being processed before moving to the cells Imelda witnessed a man thrown against the wall by an agent. The man hit his face against the wall, and spit out a tooth that was broken. Imelda reports that a supervisor was passing by and the man yelled for help but the supervisor ignored him. Imelda and the others were deported on January 29 through Nogales, Sonora.

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