ACLU Report Documents Abuse of Children by Border Agents

While the nation is in an uproar over the separation of immigrant children from their parents, a report by the American Civil Liberties Union released last month details what they claim is a pattern of abuse of children crossing into the United States by Customs and Border Protection agents at the southern border.

The ACLU attempted to obtain of records complaints of abuse by a public-records request, but were denied. They then filed a lawsuit via the Freedom of Information Act. They ultimately received over 30,000 pages of documentation. Those documents tell a grisly tale of violent physical and sexual abuse, humiliation, and the denial of food and necessary medical attention to immigrant children from the years 2009 to 2014. The CBP claims the report is “unfounded and baseless” and, even still, that improvements have been made in the treatment of these children, including a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse.

The stories are not easy reading. One documents a teenage boy being attacked in the stomach with a stun gun, then kneed twice by an agent in the same spot. Another tells of a teenage mother threatened with rape while her child was taken from her and placed in foster care. Another teenage girl was accosted by an agent who “forcibly spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed,” while a boy was stripped down to his boxers and forced to stay in one of the detention cells that were kept so cold the immigrants called them hieleras, or “freezers.”

The complaints were reported to the Department of Homeland Security, but the ACLU claims they were mostly dismissed. Astrid Dominguez, director of the ACLU’s Regional Center for Border Rights says, “You have no clear sense of how or whether these agents were reprimanded.”

If true, this reports is a damning critique of the CBP. It reveals a callousness and heartlessness that should never be seen among agents of the law who are responsible for the care of others. That the victims are children is especially grotesque. No one should be treated this way, especially no child should be treated this way.

As of now, there’s nothing that I can find in the media to suggest that the report has inspired a deeper investigation into these crimes or of those who allegedly carried them out.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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