Leaked Emails From Border Patrol Agent Detail ‘Rampant’ Abuse At Migrant Detention Centers
CNN has obtained emails written by a Customs Border Protection agent who reported several incidents of abuse at migrant detention facilities in El Paso, Texas.
In one incident, agents at an El Paso processing center sought to humiliate one migrant by making him walk around wearing a sign that read “I like men” in Spanish.
The alleged incident was one of several detailed in the emails obtained by CNN from an agent who wrote that he had witnessed repeated incidents of inappropriate behavior by agents, and a failure of management to police their employees.
In response to CNN, a CPB official told the news outlet “I am forwarding to the Office of Professional Responsibility, the office charged with looking into these allegations.”
The Honduran man was given a note that said “I like man” and asked to walk in front of a group of other men who had also been detained.
The agent who reported the incident said the agent who wrote the note and a second agent were laughing about what had happened. Neither responded, the agent said, when told the behavior was inappropriate.
The migrant was visibly upset, according to the emails, and the agent who reported the incident took the note away and told a senior agent. The supervisor did not take any action.
The report comes amid widespread criticism of CPB for its treatment of migrants along the border.
An internal watchdog report earlier this week documented standing-room only conditions at some facilities, while also stating that some detainees were not given showers or hot meals.
A congressional delegation that visited a center in Texas also reported widespread complaints. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) said a migrant woman told her Border Patrol agents told people in CPB facilities to drink from toilets.
Tensions were further inflamed after Propublica uncovered a Facebook group where current and former Border Patrol agents had shared racist and sexist posts about migrants, as well as a sexualized illustration of Ocasio-Cortez.
CBP has ordered an investigation into that incident and officials have vowed to hold those guilty of improper conduct accountable.
CPB did not respond to a Political Dig request for comment.