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U.S. Border Patrol Continues Brutal Policies

U.S. Border Patrol Continues Brutal Policies

Yet another brutal death occurred over the weekend at the U.S.-Mexico border. The death occurred when two United States Border Patrol agents fired lethal shots across the border on Saturday morning near Brownsville, Texas, CNN reports.

The shots reportedly killed a Mexican citizen, Mexico’s foreign ministry has stated. Neither U.S. or Mexican officials have released any further details into the violent encounter over the weekend but Mexico’s foreign ministry has condemned the overexertion of lethal force at the border over the years in the wake of this new tragedy. Reuters quotes a representative:

The Mexican government has repeatedly expressed that the disproportionate use of lethal force in the exercising of immigration control functions is unacceptable under any circumstance.

Conversely, agents in the United States have remained reticent to link the border shooting on Saturday to an admitted patient at a Matamoros hospital in Mexico over the weekend.

Tensions at the U.S.-Mexico border have remained high for many years now. In the summer of 2010, a Mexican teenager was shot in the head at the El Paso border. The Border Patrol agent responsible for killing the young man was put on a mere administrative leave for the use of brutality, when all signs pointed to an outright and unnecessary murder.

Just a few months before this young man was shot and killed, a migrant worker living in San Diego was brutally beaten and tasered at the border. Footage of the brutality shows that the man, Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, was beaten by more than a dozen border patrol officers, although he was alone, defenseless, and held on the ground pleading for help for minutes on end. Hernandez Rojas died in critical condition in the hospital.

Here’s a video by Presente.org that shows some of the disturbing footage of the border patrol’s brutality.

An April Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times points out that the U.S. Border Patrol has been growing increasingly over the last five years, now boasting double the agents it had in 2007. There are now 21,000 agents who have been quickly trained and put into the field. Their training and protocol are also kept under tight wraps. The LA Times op-ed states:

By policy, border officials do not make their use-of-force protocol public. When they can fire a weapon and why is kept secret. With insufficient training and little public oversight, perhaps it’s no surprise that since May 2010, there have been at least eight documented cases of extreme use of force against unarmed and non-combative migrants resulting in death.

U.S. authorities have also blamed Mexico for brutalities at the border. On Monday, U.S. authorities revealed the names of four Mexican men associated with the shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent a year and a half ago in a gun-smuggling operation entitled Fast and Furious (quite the name for a covert mission which was, in theory, meant to stop more brutality via firearms. Who exactly is fast and who is furious?)

These debates from both sides of the border leave us with the question: is U.S. Border Patrol brutality an effective way to build a positive and plausible relationship between citizens? Does it make anyone safer? The answer is a resounding no. Even one death at the border should be met with a heavy heart.

To conclude with the words of John Carlos Frey, a documentary filmmaker speaking on the issue:

The violence against Hernandez and others, and the lack of any accountability in the wake of this violence, point to a disturbing trend. There are 21,000 Border Patrol agents who are trained to use deadly weapons. And without proper oversight and open investigations, the number of migrant killings and incidents of extreme and unwarranted violence continue to rise.

Related Stories:

Anniversary of Death Marks No Change in Border Patrol Brutality

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Photo Credit: Bill Morrow

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48 comments

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12:46PM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Until "YOU" have lived there and know what you are talking about, better to keep your uneducated guess's to yourselves in the condemnation of the men and women that make the
border patrol what it is, I don't need to say Read My Lips since it is in big bold letters................"BORDER PATROL", and that is what it means, they are positioned to PROTECT our United States border between Mexico and the US against the infiltration of Non-Legal trafficking, many are not Mexicans.
And "PLEASE" don't call them law abiding citizens or they would be crossing with Legal Papers, just like we have to have to enter Mexico !
This is a scarey job, but someone has to do it, of course the "Fast & Furious" was staged by our own Pres. Obama and Holder, which resulted in a big mess, I guess it was just normal proceedure.
Was the killing of the rancher OK, have the deaths of Border Patrol Agents been forgotten, and what about the man that disappeared while fishing with his wife a while back.
Wake up everyone, open thine eyes the world cannot be seen thru rose colored glasses or biased though'st because someone told you this or that.
I lived close to theborder and knew many of the agents and their families, yes, they do have families,!

2:54PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

It's called BORDER for a reason. The action of crossing calls for reaction ... and rightly so.

2:22PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

They are illegally coming to our country, it is our border, and thank you to all border patrol for protecting it.

10:44PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

If an officer is truly in fear of their life, buy all means they have a right to defend themselves.
If an officer is truly of the mind that what amounts to trespass is a hunting license , they have a right to go jail.

Those that hire illegals be it directly or using the latex glove of sub contracting should be held accountable as well ,since it indeed takes both a willing employer and employee, and while we may deport the illegal employee, those baiting the hook with employment opportunities should be held accountable.

Officers who go beyond enforcing the law to "teach em a lesson" should not be wearing the badge, as it makes for more violence all around. One can be professional or find some other line of work.

10:25PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

To all you nay-sayers, read this :
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48170010/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/

See if you can come up with another bleeding heart theory.

9:27PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Steve R. Kudos, many kudos to you. I have already sent you a green start.....wish I could send you 500 more!

9:22PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Mexico sells leafets and books and such on crossing the border illegally. Along with those items they also sell water bottles, bed rolls, backpacks, etc for the criminal who chooses to cross without papers. You know...kinda like a Macys for the discerning criminal!
I have gotten to the stage of laughing at these bleeding hearts who say Mexicans should do what they can to better their lives. Of course, I do agree we all should do what we can to make things easier for our children but I believe we should do it legally. The financial burden of supporting Mexicans who cross illegally (and the only English they know is one word..."welfare") has almost brought this country to it's knees and you bleeding hearts still insist what they do is right! I just don't get it. If the government of Mexico is so indignant concerning how we treat the illegals, maybe Mexico should step in and take care of their own! Maybe, just maybe...if the country was run better all these illegals could just stay home!!! Failing that, the bleeding hearts who won't admit this illegal practice of crossing the border IS illegal, maybe these self same good Americans can open their homes to these people and put them on their medical insurance so the burden doesn't fall to the US Government! (and our taxes)

9:16PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Maureen H - do you really believe an agent used a Mexican, inside Mexico, for target practice for no rhyme or reason?

If so - you're more gullible than Obama supporters who actually think his next four years will be any better than the last four!

"Mexico's foreign ministry has accused a U.S. border patrol agent of fatally shooting a Mexican citizen over the weekend."

Of course Mexico's foreign ministry did.......

"The ministry said a Mexican national died after being shot by the U.S. agent, but did not release details about the circumstances surrounding the Saturday violence."

No details about the circumstances..... I wonder why?

And let's not mention the "brutality" of Mexican drug smugglers shall we?

Why do people like you condemn your own countrymen for doing their job while finding no fault whatsoever with foreigners that sneak into this country illegally, often for criminal purposes.

Perhaps we should send you to patrol our borders. You could try and TALK them out of their criminal deeds......

8:39PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

at least our agents have real bullets now. the agent killed with f & f gun only had rubber bullets. i don't know what fool decided that our agents shouldn't have real arms but they are the ones that should be shot. our agents are attacked all the time. they should shoot to kill and ask questions later. don't sneak in if you don't want to get shot. there are crossings for people to come in the right way use them.

5:11PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Noted.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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