We are deeply troubled with reports of immigrant children being abused by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  shows evidence of CBP holding migrant children in excess of the 72-hour maximum period permitted by law, as well as officials’ efforts to deport children without due process and via coercion.

Examples of the documented alleged abuses by CBP against children include:

  • Punched a child’s head three times
  • Kicked a child in the ribs
  • Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
  • Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times
  • Verbally abused detained children, calling them dogs and “other ugly things”
  • Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room
  • Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth
  • Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”
  • Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice
  • Threw out a child’s birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee

The ACLU is gathering signatures to petition Kevin K. McAleenan, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection, to stop the government from abusing immigrant children. We the citizens of United States are asking our government to stop subjecting children in custody to physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Hold the responsible agents accountable and make it impossible for any future abuse to occur. Please sign the petition.

[Update: May 27, 2018]

You can contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directly. Write to them here or call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. Please share.

Sample Script:

I am [Your name] and I reside in [city/town/district]. I am outraged by how our government is treating children at the border. It is the responsibility of your agency to provide adequate protection to minors and children from abuse and exploitation. I am shocked by the abuse and neglect these children were subjected to at the hands of U.S. officials. The fact that these children were already so vulnerable — most traveling alone in hopes of escaping violence and poverty in their home countries — made the unlawful and inhumane actions reflected in the documents even more distressing.

Following examples of the documented abuses include allegations that CBP officials:

  • Punched a child’s head three times
  • Kicked a child in the ribs
  • Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
  • Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times
  • Verbally abused detained children, calling them dogs and “other ugly things”
  • Denied detained children permission to stand or move freely for days and threatened children who stood up with transfer to solitary confinement in a small, freezing room
  • Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth
    Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed”
  • Left a 4-pound premature baby and her minor mother in an overcrowded and dirty cell full of sick people, against medical advice
  • Threw out a child’s birth certificate and threatened him with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.

The report also shows evidence of CBP holding migrant children in excess of the 72-hour maximum period permitted by law, as well as officials’ efforts to deport children without due process and via coercion.

I urge you to take necessary steps to stop the inhumane treatment of minors. I request for an immediate independent investigation to bring those to justice who are responsible for these horrible and criminal practices.

Thank you,

[Your name]

Customs and Border Patrol Accused of Severe Abuse
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