The American Civil Liberties Union has released a 50 page long report that detailed how borders agents routinely abused children while they were in custody between 2009 and 2014.
The documents contained thousands of pages of complaints from legal service providers and immigrant advocates who alleged maltreatment at the hands of border agents, including physical, verbal, and psychological abuse.
Those complaints involve accounts of border agents tightening handcuffs on children until they lost circulation in their hands and handcuffing children together while dragging them across the floor. Other accounts detail agents using tasers on children after they were already detained, as well as kicking and throwing children. Agents also threatened children and swore at them.
In addition, agents were accused, in some accounts, of sexually abusing children or threatening to place them in detention with adults who would sexually abuse them. Some were kept in freezing rooms and even denied food and water. Borders agents also neglected pregnant mothers in their custody and denied them medical treatment.
One complaint involved a pregnant minor who complained of pains and later gave birth to a stillborn infant. Border agents accused her of lying about the pain in order to be released.
The report also details cases where undocumented immigrants were denied due process or tricked into self-deporting after they were issued threats to their families.
On their website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection called the accusations “unfounded and baseless,” noting that the allegations pertain to the previous administration.
The report goes on to say:
“CBP strongly disagrees with the assertions and conclusions made by the ACLU report, which equates allegations with fact and flatly ignores reforms made by CBP as well as oversight conducted by outside independent agencies over the last decade. Just in the last three years, CBP has established a number of agency-wide policies that aim to provide for additional protections for those held or detained by CBP. CBP was not contacted by the ACLU regarding its report or any of its findings.”
A staff attorney for the ACLU told The Daily Dot that the agency’s denial only signals an indifference toward implementing real change.
“The ACLU has obtained more than 30,000 pages of government records detailing, again and again and again, horrific episodes of child abuse—over a period of years and across multiple states throughout the southwest border,” Mitra Ebadolahi said. “The documents, and our new report, speak for themselves.”