Department of Homeland Security officials are investigating an allegation of sexual assault against an underage migrant girl in a Yuma Sector processing center. NBC News also alleges acts of retaliation against migrants by Border Patrol agents following complaints about food and crowded conditions.
In a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials provided to Breitbart News, a CBP spokesman noted, “The allegation of sexual assault is already under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.”
The statement from CBP comes in response to allegations of sexual assault and retaliation made by teenage migrants in a Yuma Sector Border Patrol processing center, according to the NBC News report.
A 15-year-old Honduran girl claimed a “large, bearded officer” put his hands inside her bra and pulled down her underwear. She claimed the “officer” groped her as part of what she described as a routine pat down. She further claimed the incident took place in front of other immigrants and officers, the article states.
The Honduran girl claimed “she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other officers and laughing” during the alleged incident, the article continues.
Other complaints allege retaliation from “officers” when the migrant teens would complain about the taste of the water and food provided in the processing center, NBC states. A 16-year-old Honduran boy said the “officers” would take the mats out of their cells and force them to sleep on the concrete floor.
Another boy, a 17-year-old Honduran claimed the “officers” would scold the children for getting too close to a window. He also claimed the “officers” engaged in name-calling, sometimes using a Spanish offensive term “puto.”
NBC News claims the allegations come from accounts collected by government case managers.
“The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated,” the statement from a CBP spokesman continues. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct. We take all allegations seriously and investigate all formal complaints. CBP Agents and Officers are expected to adhere to our policies and procedures, including those outlined in our National Standards on Transportation, Escort, Detention and Search.”
The cases cited in the NBC News report say the allegations “are not pure byproducts of overcrowding.” The article lists such alleged complaints as relating to denial of phone calls, not being offered a shower, sleeping on concrete or outside with only a Mylar blanket, and feeling hungry before their 9 p.m. dinnertime. They cite a complaint from a child who said she often missed the 9 p.m. dinner meal because “she was already asleep” by that time.