Upset About Border Patrol Cruelty? It Didn't Start Under Trump

from the speak-up dept

In the last few weeks, there's obviously been a lot of attention on the cruel actions of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Slate has an article detailing some of the awful stories coming out after the Trump executive order on immigration and travel (here are just a few):

  • At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, CBP officers reportedly detained an elderly Sudanese woman suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, and severe kidney stones. They refused to provide her attorney or her family with any information on her health, status, or whereabouts. Her attorney later learned that CBP officers had demanded that his client withdraw her request for admission into the United States or be barred from entering the country for five years. She signed the document and was promptly deported. Her family never got to see her.
  • Also at DFW, CBP agents allegedly detained a lawful permanent resident along with her 11-month-old daughter, a U.S. citizen. They refused to let attorneys speak with the mother. When the child’s father came to the CBP office, agents refused to let him see his daughter.
  • CBP officers at Los Angeles International Airport allegedly deported an Iranian student 90 minutes after a federal judge explicitly barred the deportation of anyone targeted by Trump’s order. They ignored efforts by attorneys to halt the deportation.
  • CBP officers at San Francisco International Airport allegedly detained an elderly Iranian couple with valid visitor visas for 30 hours. Nineteen of those hours came after a federal judge halted deportations under Trump’s order. One officer informed the couple’s attorney that they might soon be deported. When the attorney explained that this action would violate a federal court order, the officer responded that he was “just following orders.”
  • An elderly Iranian couple—both of whom were lawful permanent residents—say they were detained for 10 hours at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after returning from their son’s wedding in Iran. The two were denied access to food for the length of their detention. Another elderly person being detained along with the couple was shaking from hunger and nearly passed out. CBP officers refused to inform the couple’s immediate family whether the couple had been allowed to take necessary medications.
  • A complaint to DHS over the implementation of the travel ban noted 26 accounts of abuse by the CBP.

    But here's the thing: none of this is new, unfortunately. Yes, the specifics of the executive order are new, and the awful plan and rollout by the administration are new, but CBP being arbitrarily cruel to people is not at all new. We've reported on it many times in the past. Last week, On the Media put together a collection of stories that it had done in the past about egregious behavior by CBP at the border, almost all of which we covered in the past -- and all of which occurred under President Obama.

    There was the horrific treatment of On The Media Producer Sarah Abdurrahman and her family (all US citizens) detained at the US border for hours and treated horribly when trying to return to the US from a wedding in Canada. There's also the insane story of Pascal Abador, a student studying Shiites in South Lebanon (he's an atheist himself), who was detained and had his laptop seized while on a train traveling from Canada to the US. CBP found photos on his laptop of Hamas and Hezbollah and then wouldn't give him back his computer. And then there's the truly sickening stories (plural) of CBP bringing people to doctors to be horrendously strip searched for drugs, often undergoing hours-long "inspections" by medical professionals despite never turning up any actual drugs. Here's one example we wrote about, which is similar to, but not the same one discussed in the OTM recording:

    1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
    2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
    3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
    4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
    5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
    6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
    7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
    8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

    None of this is to say that what Trump is doing is okay. What he's doing is expanding the CBP's power to continue to expand its often arbitrary and capricious activities without any fear of oversight or any sort of reprimand for egregious behavior. But if you're suddenly concerned with how CBP appears totally free to mistreat basically anyone at the border, at least recognize that it's been going on for quite some time and that plenty of people (including us) have been trying to call attention to it for years. And don't assume that just because you're suddenly hearing these stories in the news, that they're a new phenomenon. Unfortunately, they are not. Hopefully, greater attention on CBP cruelty will lead to fixing it, but this administration, unfortunately, seems to want to encourage and expand it.


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    • identicon
      Michael, 14 Feb 2017 @ 9:44am

      "but CBP being arbitrarily cruel to people is not at all new"

      I don't think it is arbitrary at all. It is specifically focused on anyone they do not like.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 14 Feb 2017 @ 9:52am

      A raging pitbull is a raging pitbull.

      There is still a difference between one that occasionally manages to break free from its leash, and one that is unleashed anyway.

      The difference between Obama and Trump is that the border patrol now was ordered to wreak havoc on travellers in complete disregard of the law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 10:16am

      Anyone can accuse anyone of anything. I've learned here accusations are not enough.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 10:23am

      But if you write all these articles about how bad Obama was, how can you keep up your anti-Trump, Obama-shill status?

      Clearly this is just a false-flag article. Anyone who was really concerned about the truth would have mentioned how Obama was also a Muslim Kenyan.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 14 Feb 2017 @ 11:00am

        Re:

        Poe's Law says you should put a "/sarc" so that others will not think you are a blithering, racist tool with delusions of importance.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 4:55pm

        Re:

        Notice how mr. masnick mentions President Trump's executive order first? The later mention of obama is just a transparent attempt at plausible deniability of bias. Well, it didn't work! More proof that mr. masnick is nothing more than an obama loving democrat shill!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      timmaguire42 (profile), 14 Feb 2017 @ 10:57am

      Some of these are outrageous (the 2nd bullet point for instance), others are just the CBP doing their job (1st and 3rd, for instance). They do still have a job to do, you know. And the judge only ordered that people not be deported based on Trump's EO, he did not order that people not be deported. Only a fool would think that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 14 Feb 2017 @ 11:20am

        Re:

        What? How in the world is keeping someone from contacting anyone and forcing them to withdraw an application to enter the US or be barred from doing so for five years 'doing their job'? How is ignoring an attorney and a judge 'doing their job'?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Sok Puppette, 15 Feb 2017 @ 5:38am

        First bullet point

        Telling somebody that you'll ban them from the country for 5 years if they don't withdraw a request for admission is not doing their job. Especially when it's a naive person whom you are holding incommunicado.

        It is, however, deprivation of civil rights under color of authority, and you can get a Federal prison sentence for it. Which is what should be happening to a lot of these people and their bosses.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 14 Feb 2017 @ 11:09am

      Not just the US

      I've been detained for hours with no explanation by both Canadian and British Customs in the last fifteen years.

      They (and US officers) all have "bad attitude", and anything but instant, sniveling compliance will get you detained - even if you didn't comply because you're hard of hearing and asked them to repeat something.

      I suspect it's no different in any other country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 11:23am

        Re: Not just the US

        It may not just be the US, but just because other countries are doing it is no reason to tolerate it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bamboo Harvester (profile), 14 Feb 2017 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Re: Not just the US

          It's also no reason to single out the US.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 14 Feb 2017 @ 5:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Not just the US

            And the article did that where again?

            Mentioning when something is screwed up without also mentioning 'Hey, this also happens in other places' is not 'singl[ing] out the US', it's pointing out that there's a problem in the US.

            The US BP is acting like a band of thugs. That this might happen elsewhere does not make their actions any better, nor does calling them out on this require one the one doing so o include asides about how other, similar groups also have a tendency to act like thugs too.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 6:09am

        Re: Not just the US

        gotta say i wholeheartedly agree, as someone who was detained for trying to legally enter my own country of origin, on a one-way ticket whilst living abroad. I found their suspicious attitude toward so gratuitous that I just had to laugh - couldn't help it - which I feel was 90% of the reason why I ended up being detained. I can also remember seeing instructions on a US entry form to the effect that laughing at or making jokes about the entry requirements was reason enough to be detained. Jokes and laughter may be annoying, but a national security threat ffs??

        Stuff like this makes border staff the most hated people on the planet, after tax collectors. And it also makes it all the more important not to give them ANY extraordinary powers to harass and bully people on their way in & out of the country... which Trump has done. So, while this harassment has always existed, that it has gotten worse under him is an indisputable fact. IME these people LOVE "just following orders". The more cruel and arbitrary they are, the better.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 1:40pm

      So a badly sick woman travels from Sudan to rip off stupid Americans of her health costs and border agent had a nerve to violate her rights to do so?


      Just wonder how would mr masnick whine if sudanese kicked my ass off over same stunt?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 2:32pm

        Re:

        Now this is a perfect example of a troll. The commenter is responding to something similar to what is being discussed, but different enough to invite correction.

        Next the comment itself is peppered with colourful or pejorative adjectives to reinforce the extremes it is using to make a point. This signals an unreasonable stance to the reader, which can be frustrating.

        Finally the comment finishes by directly addressing the author and posing an absurd hypothetical. Though I think they could have gone further than the one used. Perhaps something like 'I wonder how much Mr masnick would whine if we all die of super communist Ebola if we just let all those nasty third world fifth column grandmother's in."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 5:14pm

          Re: Re:

          Not only that, it's a low grade Russian troll. You can tell by the stench of borstshit and bootleg vodka. Also truely awful syntax.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 3:48pm

      What's the solution then?

      All these DHS staffers live in houses and apartments away from the entry points. They can all be found. They can all be taken and dealt with appropriately. None of them are in protected compounds or under 24 hour protected observation.

      If they start to disappear for a time and suffer similar consequences, how long do you think it will take for them to make changes to their procedures?

      Even if they were to become fully monitored, this takes away resources that are being used elsewhere for other non-beneficial purposes.

      Many of these workers have families themselves. These family members now become target for retribution.

      The unintended consequences are huge and the number of ancillary people affected increases. This applies to all of those who occupied in all such positions, including LEO's of all kinds.

      Once the fuse is lit, it will be very difficult to stop the explosion and civil war will erupt.

      As history has shown many times before, once the affected segment of society reached a critical level then those in power lose badly. All because those affected no longer have anything to lose.

      Edgar H. would be proud of his legacy, as would John M. Every nation that loses its way, falls and falls far.

      David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Daydream, 14 Feb 2017 @ 4:54pm

        Re: What's the solution then?

        I'm not sure I'm a fan of kidnapping or targeting family members. Isn't that the crime they're committing in the first place?

        Maybe find their phone numbers and give them a good talking to. And if that doesn't work, track them down and steal the tyres off their car.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2017 @ 6:18pm

          Re: Re: What's the solution then?

          This will be the unintended consequences. They do and then they suffer the same.

          What's that golden rule? Do unto others as you want done to yourself. or a rephrase: Don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself.

          Well, they do this stuff until it becomes the reciprocating actions of others.

          Of course, making the warning usually gets the messenger killed.

          David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 14 Feb 2017 @ 3:49pm

      Amusingly, I'm seeing ads for books by Trump in the sidebar on this article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 3:34am

      Adding Insult to Injury

      Let's not forget that the hospital that performed the warrantless, illegal "medical procedures," i.e., torture, of Eckert, sent her a bill for $5,000 for services rendered.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David Pittelli, 15 Feb 2017 @ 5:15am

        Re: Adding Insult to Injury

        OK, but let us also not forget that Eckert won a $1.6 million judgement for the abusive treatment he endured. So such behavior isn't tolerated by the overall system.

        Further, while the government's treatment of Eckert was stupid and evil, and the treatment was related to the proximity (~30 miles) to Mexico, it wasn't, contra the headline above, Border Patrol doing this; it was the Deming NM Police Department, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and a judge (who signed off on a cavity search warrant).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 15 Feb 2017 @ 5:55am

          Re: Re: Adding Insult to Injury

          In other words, authoritarianism is everybody's problem. Bullies are attracted to jobs that give them power over other people. The more power they have, the more supervision they require.

          It's best to assume all authority figures are prone to corruption and keep an eye on them as it can hit us all hard in the pocket when a hacked-off victim takes the police, etc., to court for abusing them. While some bad actors may lose their jobs from time to time, per TD reports this isn't necessarily permanent as they can get similar jobs elsewhere. Therefore, when taxes go up to pay for "law enforcement" or "security" you can be assured that a fair chunk o' that is for compensating victims of abuse.

          What I don't understand is how border guards who commit these abuses continue to do so even after they've had bad press. While individuals might not be identified, surely to goodness making the whole team look bad reflects badly on team leaders, etc. Do they revel in bad press, or something? Serious question.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            BernardoVerda (profile), 16 Feb 2017 @ 7:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Adding Insult to Injury

            You are suffering from a basic misunderstanding.

            These sorts of xenophobic authoritarian thugs in uniform don't think it makes them look bad, they think it makes them look good -- even if (especially if?) the "Lie-beral Press" portrays them in a negative light over such incidents.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Buck Wheaton, 15 Feb 2017 @ 5:22am

      Sadly, this is what you get when government turns socialistic. This is straight out of Chapter X of Hayek's Road to Serfdom, Why the Worst Get on Top.

      http://www.savageleft.com/poli/rts-ten.html

      Personnel is policy. What kind of person goes to work for a socialistic thug president?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 15 Feb 2017 @ 5:58am

        Re:

        Oh, Buck... learn what words mean. Trump is a Fascist. Go and look it up.

        Socialism is a political system and is as good or as bad as the people running it. This is the same of every political system. Is it me or does "Socialist" mean "Boogeyman" in America?

        Seriously, I can easily imagine you putting your kids to bed, saying, "If you don't go to sleep this instant, Timmy, the socialists will come, take all your toys away, and give them to the refugees!"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 6:16am

          Re: Re:

          Despots have a way of interpreting almost any system or situation as a tyranny. Hitler was allegedly socialist, Trump is allegedly a capitalist. Neither of them is anything but a despot, hiding behind the mantle of a system that represents 'the people's will'. The labels they choose prove nothing except their own cunning: obviously, people will accept a tyrant more readily when he claims to have their best interests in mind, rather than his own.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 15 Feb 2017 @ 6:39am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Trump behaves like an African dictator, according to Trevor Noah from The Daily Show. In an interview on NPR, he said,

            "Doing what I do now, I've come to realize now more so than ever that I have to approach what I do every day on The Daily Show with complete honesty. Funny enough, one of the biggest moments of realization was when Donald Trump won the election. Because when I came into the show, I said, "I think this guy can win." This is when he first came down that escalator and gave his first speech. ... And then I was like, "Wow, this guy is going to do well." I remember then people laughed at me. ...

            I've seen this before. I have seen clowns that go on to take over their countries. I've seen buffoons who end up ruling their worlds. And it came to pass, and I've just come to realize I'm going to share my point of view."

            "In South Africa ... a government, very successfully, convinced the majority of a population that every single person there was blocking the other people from achieving greatness in the country, only to realize that we were all being oppressed at the same time."

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 6:44am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "hiding behind the mantle of a system that represents 'the people's will'."

            Maybe this is why he gets so upset at
            - his poll numbers
            - tv ratings
            - popular vote
            - inauguration numbers
            - women marching
            - SNL ratings

            Living in an alternative reality can be quite stressful and confusing, but I am not going to feel sorry for the idiot.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Baron von Robber, 15 Feb 2017 @ 7:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              For Trumplthinskins, it probably is stressful and a little confusing, but very simple. Simple minds can only handle simple things.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 7:02am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Hitler was allegedly socialist,

            No, he wasn't.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2017 @ 7:31am

        Re:

        A hint almost all people who seek political office desire to force society into a mould of their own creation, which makes them authoritarian..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thomas Hazlewood, 15 Feb 2017 @ 8:51am

      Nothing to fear

      I keep saying that, if Trump wants to scare the beegeezus out of Democrats, all he has to do is promise that while he governs he will not use any methods that were not previously used by the Obama administration.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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