March 6, 2014
Customs and Border Protection and a Texas hospital allegedly subjected a woman to repeated anal and vaginal cavity searches over a period of six hours without her consent and without a warrant, leaving her traumatized, according to a lawsuit filed in December. The hospital then allegedly sent the woman a bill for more than $5,000 after she refused to sign a consent form.
The civil lawsuit against CBP and the University Medical Center of El Paso, where some of the cavity searches were performed, raises questions about what legal protections are available to people when crossing an increasingly militarized border.
“Whether or not this reflects a pattern of practice [at CBP] is not yet clear,” the woman’s attorney, Laura Schauer Ives, told The Huffington Post. “But that the agents felt emboldened to do this, I think, is telling.”