Border Communities Under Siege: Border Patrol Agents Ride Roughshod Over Civil Rights
The U.S.-Mexico border has been turned into a militarized zone, all in the name of "border security."
The Border Patrol's claim to broad powers coupled with lack of effective oversight in the region has led to an unprecedented jump in civil rights violations.
- Armed Border Patrol agents man checkpoints on nearly every highway.
- Roving patrols pull over innocent travelers.
- Surveillance cameras, drones and helicopters invade the privacy of border residents.
While immigrants and Latinos bear the brunt of the Border Patrol's most excessive abuses, these stories show that no one is safe in a militarized zone.
Ranchers Under 24-Hour Surveillance...for What??
Rancher John Ladd used to cooperate with the Border Patrol, but he and other ranchers are fed up with Border Patrol agents patrolling their land at will, cutting through fences, and even running over valuable cattle.
Border Agents Brutalize a 75-Year-Old Vietnam Vet
A Vietnam vet and former prison guard, Larry Kirschenman thought he had the right to ask what probable cause U.S. border agents had to search his vehicle. Larry wound up in the hospital with serious injuries.
Border Patrol Terrorizes a Mom and Her Two Kids
On a backcountry road, Clarisa Christiansen was threatened with a taser and knife by Border Patrol agents while her two terrified children watched from the backseat.
Border Patrol Agents Responsible for 27 Fatalities Since 2010
When rights violations by the Border Patrol turn deadly, in almost every case the victims have been Latinos. Among the most egregious cases of deadly violence by border agents was the brutal beating of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who left behind a bereaved wife and five US-born children. A dozen immigration officials surrounded, beat and tased Hernandez while he lay hog-tied on the ground at the San Ysidro border station. A bystander captured the beating on a cell phone video -- a disturbing scene that contradicts agents’ claims that the fatal beating was in self-defense. Watch the PBS news report to learn more about his tragic story.
Customs & Border Protection (CBP), the agency in charge of the Border Patrol, does not make public any internal investigation into incidents involving used of force, not even to the families of victims like Anastasio Hernandez Rojas. No CBP agents are known to have ever been disciplined for excessive use of force.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BORDER PATROL - An Agency Out of Control & Beyond Accountability
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which includes the Border Patrol, is America's largest law enforcement agency. Overall, U.S. taxpayers now spend $19 billion annually on immigration enforcement.
The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled since 2005. The government acknowledges that many Border Patrol agents are inadequately trained and do not understand the agency’s policies.
CBP claims broad authority within 100 miles of any external U.S. land or sea border where constitutional protections against arbitrary stops and searches don’t always apply. This “constitution-lite” zone includes two-thirds of the US population.
A report ordered by the Dept. of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, found that some 1,187 complaints of excessive use of force were filed with CBP between 2007-2012. Yet the agency has no effective mechanism for tracking and responding to complaints.