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Report Reveals U.S. Immigration Officers’ Violent and Sexual Abuse of Asylum Seekers 

HeadlineOct 22, 2021

A damning new report reveals the scope of the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border. Human Rights Watch uncovered over 160 harrowing reports of abuse faced by asylum seekers at the hands of U.S. immigration officials over the past five years. The internal reports, obtained through a public records request, were made by asylum officers within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services using testimonies that detail the brutal conduct of Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. This is part of a video accompanying the report published by Human Rights Watch.

Asylum seeker 1: “He put a gun to my head, and he said, 'Shut up, or I'll shoot you.’”

Asylum seeker 2: “The officer said if I gave him sex, I would be set free.”

Asylum seeker 3: “He told me, 'I enjoy when I capture people like you,' and then kicked me.”

Asylum seeker 4: “They called us sons of bitches, dogs, parasites, trash.”

Asylum seeker 5: “They said that because my child was a U.S. citizen, they would take him from me.”

In one account, a man from Honduras said a Border Patrol agent told him that he would be denied asylum in the U.S., and when the Honduran man refused to sign paperwork, the agent said he would be sent to jail, where he would be raped. Another incident involves an officer who forced a migrant girl to undress and then inappropriately touched her. In a statement, Human Rights Watch warned that “assaults, sexual abuse, and discriminatory treatment by US agents are an open secret within DHS.”

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