Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Culture of Cruelty

From our friends at No More Deaths (Tucson, AZ)

Imagine this: you have been detained for deportation. You are dehydrated, but are denied adequate water. You are famished, but are given only crackers as the hours stretch into days. Your cell is overcrowded, dirty, and extremely hot. You need your medication, but it has been taken from you. You are separated from your spouse and have no idea where they are. You are forced to sign papers you do not fully understand, and arrive in an unfamiliar city in the dead of night, without your identification, your money, your cell phone, or your other personal belongings.

It happens every day.

Last week, No More Deaths released A Culture of Cruelty, our second report documenting the human rights abuses perpetrated against migrants in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. Nearly 13,000 people were interviewed over three years. They reported a staggering 30,000 incidents of abuse and mistreatment.

Sign the petition urging President Obama to end the Border Patrol’s culture of cruelty.

The Border Patrol has no legally binding standards regulating its treatment of those it detains. The types of abuse individuals have reported remain alarmingly consistent. A Culture of Cruelty found that:

  • 10% of interviewees reported some form of physical abuse.
  • Children were more likely to be denied water than adults.
  • Of 433 incidents in which emergency medical treatment or medication was needed, it was provided only 14% of the time.
  • Close to half of all interviewees reported overcrowded processing-center conditions, and temperatures maintained at extreme heat or extreme cold.
  • Of dozens of complaints filed on behalf of detainees with the Department of Homeland Security, zero have resulted in any concrete change in Border Patrol practice.
The Border Patrol’s culture of cruelty is a part of the pattern of racial profiling, family separation, and human rights violations that immigrant communities face all over the country. Whether it’s at the border, in a county with a 287(g) agreement, or in a state that has passed an SB 1070 copycat, it’s clear DHS can’t be trusted to monitor itself.

As a No More Deaths supporter, you already know the devastating impact of border militarization. Border Patrol abuse is one more piece of the deadly “deterrence” strategy that has ripped apart families for the past 20 years.

Help us bring an end to Border Patrol abuse and impunity:

Sign the petition to President Obama, calling on him to put an end to systemic misconduct. If you have an organizational affiliation, endorse the sign-on letter.

Share this video of people describing first-hand experiences of Border Patrol abuse.

Donate to help us get the report’s findings to as many people as possible. The Unitarian Universalist Association has committed to matching donations dollar for dollar, up to $4,000.
The full report, video interviews with people who have experienced abuse, and additional information about the campaign to end Border Patrol abuse can all be found at

Thanks for all that you do in support of human rights in the borderlands.

No More Deaths