By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left: Lilian Serrano, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition
May 18, 2023 (Jacumba Hot Springs) —the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego, issued a blistering report accusing Border Patrol of endangering migrants’ lives by depriving them of food, water, shelter, medical care and other necessities. The damning report is titled Lives in Danger: Seeking Asylum Against the Backdrop of Increased Border Enforcement. It was published on May 16, two days after ECM broke the story of some 1,000 to 2,000 migrants in Jacumba Hot Springs who were aided by residents after Border Patrol failed to provide food or shelter.
In addition, the nonprofit humanitarian group Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) has filed a federal complaint with Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, alleging mistreatment of the Jacumba asylum-seekers and violations of both U.S. and international law.
Lilian Serrano, director of SBCC, told ECM in an interview for KNSJ radio that volunteers withessed ”families, children, elders waiting outdoors for days without access to food or water.” Regarding filing the complaint, she said, ”Our hope is that we can find out why were there outdoor detention facilities in our area, what was the reasoning behind that, and why were agents in full, clear violation of their policy – but more importantly, what can we do to prevent this from every happening again? Because regardless of your situation, whether you are coming in for asylum or not, basic standards need to be met. We cannot allow another child to go hungry in front of a federal agent.”