Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com
Trump’s surge of armed agents on the border has already had deadly consequences. A Border Patrol agent killed an unarmed undocumented immigrant woman, in a shooting captured on video by a bystander.
The incident occurred in Rio Bravo, Texas, which is on the U.S.—Mexico border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said an agent purportedly responding to a report of illegal activity near a culvert fired into a group of undocumented immigrants after he tried to arrest them.
On the video posted to Facebook, a woman yelled at the agents after the shooting. “Why are you mistreating them? Why did you (shoot) at the girl? You killed her. He killed the girl. She’s laying there and she’s dead.”
The victim was later identified as 20-year-old Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzales, who came to the U.S. from Guatemala in hopes of furthering her education in forensic accounting.
Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU told CNN, “While we do not yet have all the facts in this case, Border Patrol’s history of violence against immigrants requires us to scrutinize every incident involving lethal force closely.”
The civil rights organization has called on the Border Patrol to expand the use of body cameras and to mandate that all agents in the field wear one.
The Department of Homeland Security previously raised concerns about corruption amongst the heavily armed ranks of the Border Patrol. In 2016, DHS said corrupt agents “pose a national security threat” to the country.
Between 2005 and 2017, the government has had to pay out over $60 million in legal settlements for cases where border agents were involved in deaths, driving injuries, alleged assaults, and wrongful detention.
Despite these issues, Trump has pushed for 5,000 more agents to be hired — at a cost of nearly $300 million to taxpayers.
“This incident must be thoroughly investigated, and the agent must be held accountable,” Ur Jaddou, director of the DHS Watch project at America’s Voice, said in a statement.
“Moreover, it is time for CBP, and especially the Border Patrol, to be held accountable for multiple incidents of excessive use of force, abuse and corruption,” she added. “CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in the country but fails even basic accountability. There is no excuse.”
Tensions have been heightened after Trump decided to call up the National Guard and sent them to the border.
And while crossings are down overall, Trump has relied on racist reporting from Fox News to shape his thinking on the topic. Fox has for years relentlessly fearmongered about people seeking refuge status within the United States.
An unarmed woman is dead after an overly aggressive action from the Border Patrol. The agency is rife with massive integrity and enforcement problems. But Trump has instead prioritized enlarging the agency and further militarizing the border.
Meanwhile, immigrants are in the cross-hairs.