Today the Kino Border Initiative, with the support of the Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic at Gonzaga School of Law, submitted a detailed report to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas with information on complaints KBI has filed throughout the Trump Administration and in the first weeks of the Biden Administration. Since 2017, the Kino Border Initiative has submitted 73 complaints against the Department of Homeland Security for misconduct and mistreatment of immigrants at the US-Mexico border. An overwhelming majority of these complaints (50) involve Customs and Border Protection’s failure to provide due process to asylum seekers which include improper Title 42 expulsions; Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) failures; and inappropriate metering. While our complaints are rooted in the application of immigration law and policy, our concern runs deeper than their implementation because the policies themselves are inhumane. The DHS has only provided definitive responses to 14 of the 73 complaints, revealing an overall structural deficiency in the investigative process.
We congratulate Alejandro Mayorkas on being sworn in as the Secretary of Homeland Security and we welcome the experience he brings to this position. We urge him to address the DHS abuses highlighted by the complaints, six of which have been submitted since President Biden’s inauguration, as well as the underlying policies that create the conditions for this abuse. As our letter to Secretary Mayorkas states, “many have been victimized in Mexico following unlawful returns, scarred by CBP physical abuse, and otherwise left without the protection to which they are entitled under international and domestic law for asylum claims ignored.” In addition to addressing misconduct within CBP, we call on Secretary Mayorkas to commit by February 22nd to meet personally with the individuals whose complaints have gone unanswered. As those who have suffered at the hands of the agency that you now lead, they deserve your transparency and commitment to ameliorate the structural deficiencies in which these abuses are rooted.