Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Deportees from the U.S. stay at San Juan Bosco shelter in Nogales, Sonora. A new study cites frequent reports from Mexican migrants of abuse in U.S. custody. / Nick Oza, The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX - Mexican migrants are frequently subjected to physical abuse and verbal mistreatment while in custody of U.S. border authorities, according to a new study.

Migrants also frequently have possessions taken from them while in U.S. custody that are not returned, according to the study released Tuesday by the Immigration Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank. The study was conducted jointly with researchers at the University of Arizona, George Washington University and the University of Texas-El Paso.

The study comes as Congress considers immigration reforms including bills calling for the addition of thousands of new Border Patrol agents.

Researchers said the frequency of abuses suggest systemic problems resulting from the lack of transparency and accountability within the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They recommended that Congress pass legislation that creates stronger oversight and accountability when abuses occur.

"It's crucial that Customs and Border Protection admit there are problems," said Josiah Heyman, a report co-author and chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas-El Paso.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Customs and Border Protection, did not respond to a request for comment.

The findings are based on interviews with more than 1,100 migrants between 2009 and 2012 in six Mexican cities shortly after the migrants had been deported from the U.S.

Of those interviewed, 120, or about one in 10, said they had been subjected to some sort of physical abuse, most commonly being pushed, pulled, dragged or lifted in a way that caused stress or pain, according to the report.

About one-third of those claiming physical abuse said they had been hit, kicked, pushed or thrown down while restrained, the report said. A small number said they received lasting injuries or felt they had been sexually abused while in U.S. custody.

"This type of repetitive, consistent abuse of one in 10 people is really disturbing. What it suggests is these are not isolated incidents. This is institutional-level problems," said Jeremy Slack, a researcher at the University of Arizona who oversaw the interviews for the study.

About 23% of the migrants interviewed said they had been subjected to verbal abuse.

Those who reported verbal abuse said it most commonly consisted of them being cursed at or yelled at in an angry tone.

Nearly 40% of those who complained about verbal abuse said they were victims of nationalistic or racist slurs.

About one in three migrants interviewed said at least one of the possessions taken from them while in custody had not been returned, the report said. The items not returned included food, jewelry, clothing, money, cellphones and, most importantly, Mexican identification cards, because those documents are difficult to replace. Without them, migrants are often left stranded in unfamiliar or dangerous regions of the border.

For the study, teams of researchers from the United States and Mexico interviewed migrants at shelters in five Mexican border cities: Nogales, Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo,Juarez and Mexicali. They also interviewed migrants at a bus stop in Mexico City, where recently repatriated migrants are dropped off after being flown from the U.S. to Mexico.

The interviewed migrants were selected randomly. All of them had been deported within the previous month of being interviewed.

One migrant told researchers that Border Patrol agents pushed him and deprived him of sleep inside a processing center after he was caught trying to cross illegally near Nogales.

"They pushed me around. And they didn't let us sleep," said the migrant, identified as Javier, 35, in a summary provided by researchers. "Every time we started to sleep they forced us to get up and march or clean the room. We didn't sleep the entire night."



Copyright 2014USA TODAY

Read the original story: Report: Migrants in custody often abused

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

WED
16
THU
17
FRI
18
SAT
19
SUN
20
MON
21
TUE
22

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX