A Culture of Cruelty includes an overview of three documents detailing existing standards for Border Patrol’s treatment of individuals held in their custody. These documents are posted for viewing here.
The June 2, 2008, memorandum “Hold Rooms and Short Term Custody” was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Regional Center for Border Rights. Although the document was heavily redacted, we were able to identify guidelines addressing the following, many of which are routinely violated in practice:
- Access to food
- Access to water
- Access to medical care
- Processing-center conditions
- Property recovery
- Due-process protections
- Special conditions for juveniles
The “Proper Treatment of Detainees” memorandum (May 2, 2004), also obtained as a result of the ACLU’s FOIA request, explicitly prohibits verbal abuse on the basis of “name, nationality, race, religion, economic condition . . . dress or any other circumstance.”
A “Local Arrangement for Repatriation of Mexican Nationals” (April 2, 2009) is a public Memorandum of Understanding signed by various government agencies of the US and Mexico including four Mexican Consulates and four Customs and Border Protection regional offices. This document addresses criteria and procedures for “repatriating Mexican nationals in a safe, dignified, and orderly way with respect to their human rights” and applies to both Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in the region.