U.S. Immigration Authorities and Victims of Human and Civil Rights Abuses: The Border Interaction Project Study of South Tucson, Arizona, and South Texas

Robert E. Koulish, Manuel Escobedo, Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, and John Robert Warren
MASRC Working Paper # 20 (June 1994)

Overview of Findings
Victims of Mistreatment

  • Most victims of mistreatment by immigration authorities are United States citizens or legal residents of the United States.
  • All individuals in these two predominantly Hispanic, low-income border communities are at risk of experiencing
  • mistreatment regardless of their sex, income, English language ability, country of birth, or legal status. In other words, no single personal characteristic is strongly associated with the likelihood of experiencing mistreatment.
  • The typical victim of mistreatment by U.S. immigration authorities is a Mexican-American citizen of the United States, is 34 years old, has about 9 years of schooling, is bilingual, is married and employed, has a mean income of $11,785, and is a voter.

Types of Mistreatment

  • Incidents of mistreatment of individuals by U.S. Immigration authorities are widespread in two U.S. border communities:
  • Tucson, Arizona, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In all, 18.1% of the households in South Tucson, and 10.2% of the households in South Texas report mistreatment by U.S. immigration authorities.
  • The U.S. Border Patrol commits the largest number of reported acts of mistreatment; one half of all reported incidents of mistreatment are attributable to the Border Patrol.
  • The most common types of mistreatment committed by immigration authorities are forms of verbal and legal mistreatment: racial slurs, abusive language, and the denial of legal rights.
  • Immigration authorities commit a wide variety of acts of verbal, legal, and physical mistreatment. However, no one form of mistreatment stands out from the others.
  • Official avenues of complaint and redress are almost never utilized by citizens or legal residents who are mistreated by immigration authorities.

      Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith is an adjunct faculty member at the MASRC. Her e-mail address is: rrg@email.arizona.edu

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