Stories of sexual assault by CBP agents against migrants

In July 2016, two Guatemalan sisters left their small town and headed to the United States. They were fleeing growing insecurity and were eager to see their mother, who had moved to the US over a decade earlier.

After crossing the border, the sisters were detained by two Border Patrol agents and taken to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) station in Presidio, Texas. There, according to their testimony, a Border Patrol agent sexually assaulted them. In 2018, the younger sister – a minor at the time of the alleged abuse – sued the United States.

FIJ grant recipient and Radio Ambulante editor Silvia Viñas has been following this story and the legal case behind it for over a year. She found that complaints of sexual abuse by CBP agents are not isolated and outnumber internal investigations. And she discovered that although the agency claims to have a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse and assault, it keeps details about this policy and its attempts to tackle the issue in the dark.