AIR Border Patrol Racial Profiling Memo
Contact: Ryan Bates, 248.787.6767, [email protected]
Jonathan Contreras, 313.404.9479, [email protected]
Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol or CBP) is charged with guarding our nation’s border areas, such as the Ambassador Bridge or Windsor Tunnel. Border Patrol has an important job—interdicting drug smugglers, stopping human traffickers, and preventing terrorists from entering the country.
However, the following incidents are not examples of effective law enforcement. Rather, they are abuses of power, racial profiling, and a waste of taxpayer resources that should be properly focused on the border itself, not the neighborhoods where immigrants, Latinos, and Arab-Americans live. What we have documented is just a small portion of the activity, and represents those victims who were fortunate enough to contact an advocacy organization.
Racial profiling by Border Patrol, in combination with abusive enforcement by ICE and local police, has created a climate of fear and hostility in Southwest Detroit and other immigrant communities. Many residents are simply afraid to go about their daily business, in what has been one of Detroit’s most vibrant neighborhoods, for fear of harassment.
Worse, Border Patrol seems to be targeting human services agencies that serve immigrants. This is a cruel policy, and clearly a waste of our tax dollars.
Latino Family Services Incidents
Latino Family Services has been serving the community of Southwest Detroit since 1971. Their services include a food pantry, utility assistance, addiction counseling, youth tutoring, English language classes, and health promotion.
April, 2011: Legal Permanent Resident Harassed out side Latino Family Services
Camerino Flores, a legal permanent resident, was walking to his vehicle on Vinewood next to Latino Family Services. A CBP officer arrived by car, stopped Mr. Flores, and demanded to see his ID.
April 27th, 2011, Detroit: Director of Agency Harassed, Client Detained
Lidia Reyes, the Director of Latino Family Services, arrived at the agency at approximately 8:30 AM and parked on Vinewood. There, she saw a CBP officer in a vehicle questioning one of her clients, Clemente, through the open window. The officer saw Lidia, and moved his car to cut her off. The officer attempted to trap Lidia in her car by positioning his vehicle in front of her drivers side door. However, Lidia was still able to open the door just wide enough to exit. The CBP vehicle then retreated, and the officer arrested Clemente, who was later deported.
May, 2011, Detroit: Agency Employee Harassed
Martha Reyes, an employee of Latino Family Services, parked on Vinewood in the morning and was walking in to work. A CBP officer followed her from her car, and rolled down his window to question Ms Reyes. When Ms Reyes confronted the officer, he drove off.
May 5, 2011, Detroit: CBP Officers Circle Agency During Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Latino Family Services was holding a Woman's Forum event in the afternoon, and approximately fifty community members were participating. Ms Reyes received a report that there were "immigration" agents outside. She exited the agency to West Grand Boulevard, and saw a convoy consisting of a CBP patrol car and half a dozen officers on bicycles. The officers proceeded South on West Grand Blvd, and split into two groups. One group turned left, and proceeded down Jefferson, while the second group circled back up Vinewood towards LFS. This second group circled LFS several times for at least 20 minutes before departing.
May 30, 2011, Detroit: Director’s Husband Followed from Agency, Stopped
Camerino Flores, a legal permanent resident, left Latino Family Services, and drove Southwest on Fort Street. From the agency, he was followed by a CBP vehicle who followed close behind. Near Clark Street, the vehicle rapidly accelerated, cut Mr. Flores off, driving at angle in front of his car and coming to a halt. The officers rolled down their windows. When Mr. Flores demanded to know what they wanted, they departed.
February 2010, Wyandotte: CBP stops Latina Woman on Freeway, for no reason
On her way to work in the morning of February, 2011, Gloria Reyes, a legal permanent resident, was stopped on I-94 by a CBP agent. They asked for her immigration papers, which she presented, rather than any driving information. Ms Reyes asked why she had been stopped, and the officer did not reply. She had done nothing wrong.
October 28, 2010, Detroit: CBP Stops Latino Man With No Probable Cause, Subsequently Denied Medication While in Detention
A Border Patrol Officer stopped Ramon Morales, on Fort Street, claiming he looked suspicious. Mr. Morales had recently received a kidney transplant, and was holding his side in pain. CBP claimed this looked like Mr. Morales was concealing a weapon. No weapon was ever found. While in detention overnight at Dearborn City Jail, night shift officers denied Mr. Morales his kidney medication. The water available in his cell was so full of contamination, that Mr. Morales needed to let the dirt drift to the bottom of his cup before drinking it.
May 5th, 2011, Detroit: Border Patrol Office of Field Operations Stationed Outside Hispanic Agency
Gabriella Alcazar identified and recorded a Border Patrol Office of Field Operations vehicle parked outside of her office, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. The vehicle was stationed outside the agency for approximately 10 minutes. The staff has noticed the same sort of vehicle before, usually parked around the time English classes get out, but had not begun to document their sightings. The presence of CBP/OFO at the agency instills fear in clients, and DHDC has noticed a significant decline in their social service programs and language classes as a result.
May 10th, 2011, River Rouge: CBP Rounds Up Two Landscaping Workers
A CBP officer approached Cirilo Chavez Sosa and Aaron Guzman Mendoza to ask for their documents while they worked on a landscaping job in Grosse Isle. Border Patrol had no reason to suspect these men of any criminal act.
June 3, 2011, Detroit: Immigrant Waiting for Bus Is Asked for Papers
At 6:30am Baudilio Hernandez-Guzman was waiting for the bus near the corner of Green and Fort Street. A CBP vehicle pulled up to him and asked him for his name and identification. After showing his matricula he was asked if he was “illegal” and arrested.
June 11, 2011, Detroit: CBP Singles Out Latino Fisherman for ID Check
On the afternoon of June 11th Guillermo Arueyes, and his brother Francisco Arueyes, both US Citizens, were fishing in the Detroit river near Jefferson and Livernois. There was a group of about 10 other people fishing at the same location. Border Patrol arrived on the scene and proceeded directly to question Guillermo and Francisco regarding their immigration status. They also questioned another individual, according to Arueyes, who was Asian. The officers ignored the rest of the group, who appeared African-American and Caucasian.
June 22nd, 2011, Detroit: Latino Citizen Stopped by Border Patrol and Questioned Aggressively
Esteban Castro, a US Citizen, was giving a tour of Detroit to a visiting friend from Germany, Marc Klabes, who was driving a rented Mazda. The two were driving away from Riverside Park, where they had taken some photos of the Detroit skyline and the Ambassador Bridge. Castro and Klabes were driving down 23rd Street toward Fort, and a CBP vehicle driving in the opposite direction, and pulled a u-turn as Castro and Klabes turned on to Fort. With lights flashing, the CBP vehicle pulled Castro and Klabes over near the corner of Fort and West Grand Blvd. A CBP officer approached the vehcile, and asked Klabes, the driver, for his license and registration. Klabes presented his documents, and informed the officer that he as a visitor on business, but that his passport was in the hotel. The officer returned Klabes’ documents, and reminded him of the need to carry his passport. During this time, a second CBP car arrived on the scene. The first officer then began to question Castro aggressively and unprofessionally regarding his citizenship. The pair were detained for nearly half an hour-- and only the first few minutes were spent questioning Klabes. The agents focused their interrogation on Castro, making light of his Hispanic name, despite the fact that he was born in Detroit. Eventually the two were released without an explanation.