Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents

HOUSTON (AP) — Immigration authorities detain and process thousands of people every month who cross the U.S. border without permission.

But when detained people try to make claims of misconduct, advocates say they run into a series of hurdles that make their complaints difficult to substantiate.

An internal government report details the hurdles faced by two sisters who accused a Border Patrol agent of conducting an improper strip search.

In July 2016, two sisters reported within hours of being detained that an agent ordered them to remove their clothes. The allegations included that he touched their genitals during the search. The agent denied the allegations.

Border Patrol guidelines prohibit male agents to strip-search female detainees “except in exigent circumstances,” and only then with another agent present to observe.

Despite the sisters’ testimony, investigators dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

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