The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Mexico and a coalition of other agencies filed a complaint on Wednesday alleging that agents with the US Border Patrol frisked immigrants and then deprived them of their own possessions. This, they claim, happened before the immigrants were deported to Mexico without cash, ID and in some cases any understanding of the area to which they had been sent.
The complaint, which was filed with the Department of Homeland Security, claims that immigrants being deprived of their possessions prior to deportation increases the chance of them being placed at risk and alleges as many as 26 separate instances, including those where immigrants were deported to Mexican cities where they knew absolutely nobody there. The ACLU complaints will be reviewed by DHS officials, who say that taking items from immigrants is against departmental policy.
The New Mexico ACLU said that immigrants have reported items such as cell phones, prescription drugs, prescription glasses, legal papers and weeks of wages being taken from them, with potentially devastating consequences. The New Mexico ACLU director, Vicki B Gaubeca, said that without any identification in Mexico, “you’re no one,” unable to open bank accounts or cash checks. She added that lack of identity inevitably increases the chances of the immigrants being put at risk and exposed to criminal activity.
Last year the United States deported fewer immigrants than in any year since 2006. In 2015, there were 231,000 deportations, a fall of 42 percent since 2012, the Associated Press claims.