Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. Officials

Jennifer Harbury, TRLA Attorney * 956-447-4800 or 512-751-5852 *
Joseph Martin, STCRP Attorney * 956-787-8171*
Cynthia Martinez, TRLA Communications Director * 512-374-2764 *

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – June 5, 2013 – A civil rights lawsuit against agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been filed on behalf of three minor children after their mother, “Laura S.” was brutally murdered in Mexico following her deportation.  Attorneys representing the family will be joined by concerned members of the community to discuss the case and the serious issues it raises at a press conference on June 6, 2013. The press conference will include a moment of silence in memory of Laura S. and all victims of U.S. immigration abuse.

WHAT:          Press conference regarding filing of a lawsuit against Customs and
Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

WHEN:          June 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

WHERE:       LUPE office – Casa Saldana
1225 N FM 491   Mercedes, TX

Laura S. was twenty-two years old and the mother of three small children when she was stopped for a minor traffic violation and turned over to a Border Patrol agent in 2009. For many years she had been severely battered by her abusive ex-boyfriend, “Sergio H.,” and had recently obtained the protection of the local police and courts of law. Enraged, Sergio had returned to Mexico, threatening to kill her.

According to the complaint, Laura S. begged ICE and CBP officials not to return her to Mexico. She explained that she would be killed by her violent ex-boyfriend, that she had protective orders from the courts, and that she had three small children at home. Although she was eligible for relief, the agents forced her back into Mexico. She continued to beg all the way to the bridge. Within days Sergio H. found Laura S. and attacked her, nearly biting off her ear. He then abducted and strangled her, leaving her body in a burning car.

The lawsuit was filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) and the South Texas Civil Rights Project (STCRP). A copy of the lawsuit can be downloaded at

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services. For more information, visit

For over 30 years the South Texas Civil Rights Project has provided free legal services to low-income persons in the Rio Grande Valley. The mission of the South Texas Civil Rights Project is to promote racial, social, and economic justice through education and litigation.


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