Civil Rights Complaint Regarding CBP Detaining People Between Border Fences

On May 13, 2023, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) submitted a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. The complaint, which is supported by multiple detailed affidavits and graphic photographs, documents an ongoing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) practice of detaining people outdoors between two fences in deplorable conditions.

For months, U.S. Border Patrol agents have been detaining people arriving at the U.S./Mexico border in California between two parallel border walls—a primary and a secondary wall. Border Patrol agents are holding people—including children—on U.S. soil for days or weeks in open-air custody without adequate food, water, shelter, or medical care. CBP has provided only one port-a-potty for hundreds of people and the smell of feces is overwhelming.

Extended periods exposed to the elements without sufficient water, food, or sanitary conditions have caused migrants to suffer from serious medical conditions for which Border Patrol is not providing adequate care. SBCC has submitted images of a man with a severely infected leg injury, a woman experiencing a severe allergic reaction, and described a child who suffered an epileptic seizure.

These conditions, and the prolonged period of time that Border Patrol is holding people between the walls, are in clear violation of CBP’s own detention standards and international law governing the treatment of migrants.


Counsel: Southern Border Communities Coalition

Contact: Ricky Garza | Southern Border Communities Coalition