Our Nation’s Largest Police Force Lurks in the Shadow of Trump’s Wall

The case of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez starkly reminded border communities of everything wrong with policing in America. He was 16 years old, unarmed, and walking peacefully to a convenience store when Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz shot him ten times through the back.

His death is one of more than 50 since January 2010 at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In not one of those incidents has any Border Patrol agent been held accountable.

This week, as Congress debates whether to expand Trump’s deportation force as a tradeoff to rejecting his wall, they would do well to remember that justice has yet to be served for dozens of families like Jose Antonio’s. The roughly 15 million residents who live, play, and work in Southwest border communities acutely experience the consequences of congressionally approved hiring surges that wash their hands of any responsibility for adequately vetting or holding agents accountable. We refuse to be treated as a political pawn again.

Border Patrol’s culture of military-style, discriminatory policing and resistance to basic 21st century police reforms presents the greatest threat to our safety and freedom. Border Patrol spent the better part of two decades hiding from public scrutiny, but border communities, the ACLU, and a Homeland Security Advisory Panel subcommittee of peer law enforcement experts recently unveiled CBP’s legacy of unchecked corruption and widespread abuse.

Their accountability deficits resulted in alarming rates of sexual assaultabuse of unaccompanied children; denial of basic needs in overcrowded, freezing custody cells; looting of migrants’ personal belongings; stop and frisks at interior checkpoints located up to 100 miles from the international border; agents firing their weapons out of “frustration;” and supervisors distorting facts to cover up wrongdoing.

When you rapidly expand a police force of heavily armed, poorly trained agents who believe they answer to no one — not courts, not Congress, not DHS oversight agencies, and certainly not communities — human and civil rights violations will ensue.

Of course these abuses aren’t inevitable. Our nation’s largest police force should be held accountable to the highest professional police practices. Border Patrol should be trained to protect the paramount value of human life and police our communities based on evidence of wrongdoing. They shouldn’t do their jobs based on personal biases or stereotypes that leave roughly half of our community feeling like second-class citizens.  

To be clear, the debate over whether or not to build a wall is an important one for protecting human rights. The current 650 miles of fencing has forced migrants to cross in more remote and risky areas, resulting in thousands of migrant deaths over the last two decades. The wall also threatens private property rights and tribal lands, migration patterns of at-risk animal species, and the stunning natural habitats that make my region a beautiful place to live and visit.

The truth, however, is that Trump’s border-wall fantasy was never about rational national security policy; it’s about fueling racial and ethnic bias against Mexicans. Racial bias is fundamentally behind last week’s border fly-ins by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Secretary Kelly. The facts, for what they’re worth, are that they declared war on our nation’s safest communities and spouted lawlessness at a time of record low apprehensions — a trend that has been consistent for years with net migration from Mexico at or near zero.  

Recognizing these realities makes the road forward quite simple in Congress: You’re either on the side of Border Patrol accountability, or you’re enabling Trump’s campaign to “take the handcuffs” off agents and rule our nation based on cruelty, fear, and confusion.

When the stakes are this high, there can be no middle ground.

That’s why Congress shouldn’t give one penny to Trump’s wall or his deportation force. Until Border Patrol demonstrates a commitment to operating with the trust of communities, rather than scorning internal reforms that celebrate agents who safely resolve encounters with the public, Congress can’t trust CBP or the Trump Administration with any more resources — no more boots, no wall, and no detention beds.

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Military Police

Bless this young soul shot down. Bless the shooter as we hope he didn't know what he was doing and the devil pulled the trigger.

How many young people need to be killed on our own border?

Open the border and let free movement of the human occur.

Anonymous

Seriously? The Devil? Man has free will and the man who pulled the trigger is guilty and should be punished accordingly.

Anonymous

Anthony Romero is a gay-gay.

Anonymous

I had sex with your wife gay-gay poster. Hahahahaha! Ask her.

Anonymous

Batch Springs Police kill innocent 15 year old boy sitting in the back seat of a car.

Story:
Officer "unknown" was responding to shots fired at a party when a car containing 4 black youths was ambushed by the unknown officer. Baluch Springs refuses to release dash cam or body footage. Demand justice at the following Baluch Springs department email.

chief@balchspringspd.com

socialmedia@balchspringspd.com

cabrera539@balchspringspd.com

maret239@balchspringspd.com

Anonymous

Political parties, by design, only defend "popular" issues and "popular" people with the voters. When voters don't care about these unpopular issues and unpopular people - it is the duty of the Judicial Branch and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anonymous

If you illegally here you should have NO rights. That is reserved for citizens here LEGALLY so no sympathy here!! How many citizens are killed by illegals and drugs they bring in..

Anonymous

Far, far fewer than those killed by fellow Americans. Look up the statistics and never, ever visit Mexico with your current views.

Anonymous

Being a HUMAN means that you are born with HUMAN RIGHTS. Meaning not getting shot, not getting raped, not getting deprived of healthcare or basic needs, and not being treated as less than human by word or action. Please, treat all people as human, you are human too.

Anonymous

If you are illegally here you should have NO rights. That is reserved for citizens. How many citizens are killed by illegals and the drugs they bring in.. We have houndreds of thousands committing despicable violent acts. Free open borders are a ridiculous assertion from anyone with half a brain. You can't just let anyone walk on in without regard for who the person is. What they have hidden in their background. The level of employment in a country is also a factor. Seems people don't care about laws and economic outcomes.

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