ACLU Complains Border Agents Abusing Legal Travelers

Friday, 11 May 2012 10:37 AM

By Robert Engler

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The Department of Homeland Security is being asked to investigate the alleged abuse of legitimate travelers by U.S. Border Patrol personnel, including a Mexican woman who had filed a sexual assault complaint against a border agent in El Paso.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the allegations are contained in an administrative complaint to the department from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The complaint states, among other things, that border personnel abused a Mexican woman when she tried to enter the United States to speak with Customs and Border Patrol investigators about a complaint she had filed alleging an agent had sexually assaulted her.

She said she was so traumatized by rough treatment she received at the El Paso border crossing that she dropped her original complaint, the Chronicle reported Thursday.

The ACLU also cited the case of a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was fatally wounded by an agent as evidence of a continuing pattern of “abuse of authority and lack of due process” at the border.
The agent involved in that case has been cleared of any wrongdoing because he reportedly was trying to defend himself while attempting to detain a suspect.

The ACLU complaint contains statements from 11 travelers who said they were abused while trying to enter the United States legally at border crossings in Texas, Arizona, and California.

It includes allegations of “excessive force; unwarranted, invasive and humiliating personal searches; unjustified and repeated detentions based on misidentification; and use of coercion to force individuals to surrender their legal rights, citizenship documents, and property.”

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