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10. A “Culture of Cruelty” along Mexico–US Border

Migrants crossing the Mexico–US border not only face dangers posed by an unforgiving desert but also abuse at the hands of the US Border Patrol. During their journey through the desert, migrants risk dehydration, starvation, exhaustion, and the possibility of being threatened and robbed. Unfortunately, the dangers continue if they come in contact with the Border Patrol. In “A Culture of Cruelty,” the organization No More Deaths revealed human rights violations by the US Border Patrol including limiting or denying migrants water and food, verbal and physical abuse, and failing to provide necessary medical attention. Female migrants face additional violations including sexual abuse, according to No More Deaths. As Erika L. Sánchez reported, “Dehumanization of immigrants is actually part of the Border Patrol’s institutional culture. Instances of misconduct are not aberrations, but common practice.” The Border Patrol has denied any wrongdoing and has not been held responsible for these abuses.

Public debate on immigration tends to ignore not only the potential dangers of crossing the desert, but also the reasons for the migration of undocumented immigrants to the US. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by US president Bill Clinton and Mexican president Carlos Salinas in 1994, displaced many Mexican farmers and workers from their farms. Lack of employment resulting from NAFTA continues to motivate many to migrate to the US.

Censored #10

A “Culture of Cruelty” along Mexico–US Border

Erika L. Sánchez, “Ripped Off by Smugglers, Groped by Border Patrol: The Nightmares Women Migrants Face,” AlterNet, June 26, 2012,,_groped_by_border_patrol%3A_the_nightmares_women_migrants_face?page=entire.

No More Deaths, “A Culture of Cruelty,” September 21, 2011,

Student Researcher: Marylyn Phelps (Santa Rosa Junior College)

Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Santa Rosa Junior College)


  • Don October 8, 2013

    Stupid liberals…

  • JamesW51 December 3, 2013

    Don’t cross our border!

    • Steve December 20, 2013

      That’s the root of the problem. If these trespassers used as much energy and effort to straighten out the drug addled and graft ridden Mexican government, they could stay home and thrive in their own country! And it’s a lie to refer to these people as “migrants”. They’re trespassers. Gee, it’s actually no surprise to find this site not telling the truth. These trespassers are breaking into MY country. Any of you live in a house without locks on the doors? The Border Patrol are the locks on the doors of our land.

      • David February 19, 2014


        You are justifying sexual and physical abuse, neglect, and dehumanization with your statement. I don’t dispute the hardship created on Americans by undocumented immigrants, or the increased violence related to the Central/South American drug trade, but do really believe that a reallocated effort by would-be immigrants towards the Mexican government would create any change? The “root of the problem” is the fact that penetrating Mexico’s government is more difficult than you assume, and would require a level of education that the “trespassers” do not possess. However, that is irrelevant in my rebuttal of your comment. You imply that if Mexicans were to take an isolationist approach they would thrive in their own country. This statement neither validates your original argument, nor does it correlate with the global economic strategy of YOUR country. The original issue addressed by this article was not whether illegally immigrating into the United States was wrong or right, but an exploitation of tactics utilized by the border patrol. I’m sure that we both can agree the idea of fucking or beating an individual that is scared, dehydrated, and weak is a little unnecessary.

  • Jonso the Ponzo January 26, 2014

    Mexico and the southwest of the US continent were fully established and populated by 1776 when some disgruntled English folks decided to claim independence from England on the far northeast corner of the US.
    Those “Americans” began with 13 colonies but then got real nasty and started to massacre the native Indian population bringing down the number of Indians from 5 million to 250,000 in a matter of 150 years.
    The US also created bogus wars (like it would later do in Vietnam and Iraq) to conquer Mexico territory.
    It’s the “Americans” and not the Mexicans who’ve crossed the borders and are illegal aliens in someone else’s land.
    Mexicans have more rights to live on the land of their ancestors and have more family connections in that area than “Americans” ever will.
    So, no, Mexicans will never stop coming back home.

  • johan January 26, 2014

    As a person of the world I can tell you the USA treats the illegal
    people very good compared to how the Mexicans treat the illegal’s
    on their southern border.As someone who owns a home in Belize I see it with my own eyes, in fact I have talked to many illegal’s
    on their way north & they tell me it is preferred to be jailed
    in USA to living in central/south America,they are fed housed
    given & not lease of all protected from their treatment
    from their home country.

  • Nacho February 3, 2014

    Regardless of what these racist hate monger Americans have to say about people immigrating to the USA with no papers. Let me say that I support and help these people because they are human beings and they deserve better treatment than the treatment you could have gotten from your abusive and bitter mothers. America need to learn to give to the world good manners and civility and love instead of getting paranoid and pill sick.

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