Border Patrol report expresses dangers of irresponsible enforcement buildup

2008 report on past doubling of agents warns of “disastrous experiences” already felt by border communities.

 

Contact: Ricardo Favela, (760) 659-3620, ricardo@alliancesd.org

 

Download: Border Patrol Hiring, Training, and Infrastructure Issues – A Report by the National Border Patrol Council. June 2008

 

SOUTHERN BORDER – In response to the Senate’s approval yesterday of the Corker-Hoeven amendment that calls for nearly 40,000 agents to be deployed at the southern border, which is double the amount currently deployed, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and the families who have suffered the consequences of the last surge speak out against this new proposed surge.  They point to a 2008 report by the National Border Patrol Council (the union), which details the devastating consequences of the last surge that led to poorly vetted, poorly hired, and poorly supervised agents.

 

“By its own admission, Border Patrol believed in 2008 that 25,000 agents was enough to secure all of our borders.  Furthermore, the report warned of ‘disastrous’ consequences of building up any law enforcement agency without proper hiring, training, oversight and accountability.  Our border communities have borne the brunt of this disaster and we fear we will get more of the same with the next surge. The fact that the Senate has now proposed 40,000 total guards for the southern border alone, indicates that the border surge is a political solution and not a practical one,” states Christian Ramirez, SBCC director.

 

One clear example is the hiring of Border Patrol agent Justin Tackett who was terminated by his former employer, the Imperial County Sheriffs Department, because he was deemed unfit to carry a gun or a badge. This past September, agent Tackett gunned down a U.S. citizen and mother of five in a residential suburb of San Diego.  Valeria Munique Tachiquin, the citizen-mother who was killed, was not a subject of interest to the agent but she was killed nonetheless by an agent who should have never been hired.“Almost a year has passed since my daughter was killed and we are still waiting for a response regarding her death,” stated Valentin Tachiquin, the father of Valeria Munique Tachiquin.  “How can it be possible to call for more border agents when the ones that we do have, which are numerous, are not properly trained? We need to have these agents well trained first before we take any other steps regarding enforcement on the border.  I do not agree with putting so many agents on the border.”

 

Mr. Tachiquin’s concerns are echoed by other families such as the family of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who was beaten, shot with a Taser and killed by border agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry while agents tried to deport him in May 2010. The horrendous incident was witnessed by passersby, several of whom recorded the incident and whose videos were released publicly by PBS Need to Know. The case is still under investigation and the agents involved are still on the job. Anastasio’s wife, Maria Puga, who now cares for their five children, responded to the news of an enforcement surge.

 

“This is terrible. As it is, with the agents that we do have, abuses occur which do not get investigated or resolved,” stated Maria.  With more agents, we will be more at risk of abuse and there will not be security. We need oversight and accountability over these agents. We need to control the Border Patrol. The numerous abuses that have occurred, as in the case of my husband, proves there is no control over border agents.”

 

The wife of another victim, Jose Gutierrez, called for justice.  “It is extremely irresponsible to put more agents at the border when we don’t have accountability and oversight, or proper training of agents we have now,” stated Shena Gutierrez whose husband, Jose, was beaten into a coma by border agents in March 2011 while attempting to enter the San Luis Port of Entry in Arizona.  While in the hospital and still in a coma, border agents attempted to deport Jose to Mexico, but Shena mobilized a public outcry with the support of local immigrant rights organizations that stopped the deportation. Though still alive, Jose lost part of his skull and now suffers from seizures and other ailments following the incident.

 

The families of Valiera, Anastasio, and Jose have joined forces to call for justice for the more than 20 cases of abuse that the SBCC has been tracking since 2010. In none of these cases has a border agent been held accountable.  The families have traveled to Washington, D.C. several times to meet with legislators to also ask for legislative reform to control what is seemingly an out-of-control Border Patrol.

 

“We want the agents to be equipped with lapel cameras so there is some control, and no more ‘he said, she said’ goes on.  We want tangible reports when cases of abuse occur,” stated Shena Gutierrez.  It’s been almost two and-a-half years since the incident with Jose and it completely changed our lives.  We’re still suffering and we have no answers.”

 

“The SBCC stands with these families and with border communities who seek what everyone else in this country seeks–a responsible government that protects our human and civil rights and imposes checks and balances on our law enforcement agencies,” stated Christian Ramirez. “There is little to no oversight of Border Patrol and no accountability. Legislative solutions such as requiring agents to wear lapel cameras to record their encounters with the public, just as police officers are now starting to do, is a concrete way to impose day-to-day accountability.  Unfortunately, the Senate has not focused on oversight and accountability and instead has focused on an expensive, extreme, and excessive call for 40,000 border agents. We resoundingly reject this approach.”

 
The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), is made up of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (CA), Border Action Network (AZ), Arizona Sonora Border Coalition (AZ), Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy & Services (NM), and Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network (TX). www.soboco.org. | Twitter: @SoBoCoCoalition |Facebook

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Author: Communications Director

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1 Comment

  1. You sit back and allow these injustices to happen because you think as long as you keep it out of the media, it will die down and go away. I’m here to tell you that all you have done is make us stronger and we are working together to bring justice to our friends. We soon will be at every courthouse doorstep all over this nation and will not leave until our Immigration system in whole is fixed.

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