Calls for greater oversight of nation’s largest law enforcement agency
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard met with families of victims who died or suffered egregious injuries at the hands of Border Patrol agents. They were visiting Washington, D.C. to press for justice in the cases of their loved ones. Rep. Roybal-Allard, a vocal supporter of immigrant rights, joined them in calling for tougher oversight and accountability measures to prevent future cases of abuse and mistreatment by federal border enforcement personnel.
“The stories of these families are heartbreaking and they speak to the wider failures of our national approach to border enforcement,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “Incidents of excessive use of force are still too frequent and community complaints often go unheeded by DHS. To end this pattern of abuse, we need tougher standards and better training for Border Patrol personnel. As the immigration debate unfolds and politicians and pundits continue to call for new fences and additional agents, we must ensure that more border enforcement doesn’t mean more pain for families like the ones I met today.”
Present at the meeting were the parents of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a longtime U.S. resident and father of five. He was killed in June 2010 at a border crossing near San Diego after being struck repeatedly with a baton and tazed five times by Border Patrol agents. While the Patrol insisted that Hernandez-Rojas was resisting, cell phone footage and eye-witness testimony gathered by PBS indicate that he was already handcuffed and lying on the ground when agents accosted him. The Congresswoman also met with the father of Victoria Alvarado, a mother and U.S. citizen who was shot nine times by a plain-clothes border patrol agent in Chula Vista, CA. He was joined at the meeting by the wife of Jose Gutierrez, a migrant who was brutally beaten by Border Patrol agents while attempting to reenter the U.S. to visit his four year old daughter who was in the hospital having suffered kidney failure. No one involved in any of these cases has been charged with a crime.