BORDER COMMUNITIES UNDER SIEGE: BORDER PATROL AGENTS RIDE RO

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

BORDER COMMUNITIES UNDER SIEGE: BORDER PATROL AGENTS RIDE RO

Postby admin » Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:10 pm

BORDER COMMUNITIES UNDER SIEGE: BORDER PATROL AGENTS RIDE ROUGHSHOD OVER CIVIL RIGHTS
by ACLU

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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.

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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.



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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.



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Our Borders Aren't Constitution-Free Zones

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The Border Patrol is running wild in our nation’s border communities, and local residents are suffering.

In recent years, our federal government has massively ramped up spending on enforcement in the name of “border security,” turning border communities into militarized zones.

The stories don’t make national headlines, but every day residents of border communities face warrantless stops and searches, destruction of private property, and physical abuse from Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. The worst part is that right now there is no clear, effective complaint process for reporting these violations and holding the perpetrators accountable.

But right now, we have a major opportunity to change that. President Obama has sworn in Jeh Johnson as the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—the federal department in charge of CBP— and he has pledged reform. So now is the time for civil liberties supporters to stand together and demand common-sense regulations that rein in runaway abuse.

While many law enforcement agencies have clear, publicized processes for reporting abuses, CBP does not. Border residents, particularly those that do not speak English, have nowhere to turn when Border Patrol officers overstep their authority.

And based on local reports and complaints border residents have filed with the ACLU, it's clear that abuse of power by Border Patrol officers is all too common.

Sign the petition to President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson asking for implementation of a strong, transparent, investigation and complaints mechanism to hold CBP accountable ​ for abuses.

https://www.aclu.org/secure/hold_border ... /thank-you

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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.



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Anastasio Hernandez Rojas

LETHAL FORCE:

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUyy85t8E_U#t=1m30s

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.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BORDER PATROL - An Agency Out of Control & Beyond Accountability

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Customs and Border Patrol Officer
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.

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Know the Facts
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.

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CBP Authority
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.

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Border Communities Under Siege
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.
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Re: BORDER COMMUNITIES UNDER SIEGE: BORDER PATROL AGENTS RID

Postby admin » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:51 am

Border Patrol Accused of Profiling and Abuse
By FERNANDA SANTOS
OCTOBER 14, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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A Border Patrol vehicle in McAllen, Tex. Civil rights lawyers and some members of Congress have said that Customs and Border Protection works according to its own rules.
TODD HEISLER / THE NEW YORK TIMES


TUCSON — The federal checkpoints on highways near the Mexican border, with trained dogs and expensive scanning equipment, are supposed to stop drugs and immigrants without legal status from heading north. But newly released complaints against United States Customs and Border Protection paint a disquieting portrait of the interactions between agents and many of those they stopped and searched.

Drivers repeatedly accused checkpoint border agents of improper gunplay, racial profiling, excessive roughness and verbal abuse.

Last year, in southeastern Arizona, a military veteran said his children shuddered with fear in the back seat as agents repeatedly asked him if the children were really his. A woman at a checkpoint between Phoenix and Tucson said an agent threatened to use a stun gun on her brother in 2012 after he asked why their vehicle was being searched. And at a California checkpoint in 2013, a man said an agent approached him, hand on his holstered weapon, and demanded, “How would you like to have a gun pointed at your face?”

The accounts were culled from nearly 6,000 pages of complaints, arrest statistics and other records released in recent months to the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona by Customs and Border Protection’s overseer, the Department of Homeland Security, after the A.C.L.U. sued the department for access. Collectively, the documents, detailing encounters between motorists and border agents from January 2011 to August 2014, portray an agency whose fractured oversight system has enabled at least some agents working along the southern border to stretch the limits of law and professional courtesy while rarely facing meaningful consequences.

Among the 142 complaints obtained by the A.C.L.U., only one seems to have resulted in disciplinary action: An agent received a one-day suspension for unjustifiably stopping a vehicle, apparently driven by the son of a retired Border Patrol agent.

James Lyall, an A.C.L.U. lawyer dedicated to the border, said the records not only confirmed the types of stories his office regularly heard from border residents, but also suggested that Customs and Border Protection had underreported the number of civil rights complaints it had received.

For example, in reports to Congress for the 2012 fiscal year, oversight agencies listed three complaints accusing agents of violating the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, according to an A.C.L.U. report. At the same time, the records the A.C.L.U. received include 81 such accusations filed during the same period against agents assigned to the Border Patrol’s Tucson and Yuma sectors, or only two of its 20 regional divisions along the southern and northern borders.

“C.B.P.’s own records paint a disturbing picture of lawlessness and impunity, in which the agency continually operates without any regard for accepted best practices, and agents commit widespread abuses knowing they won’t be held accountable,” Mr. Lyall said.

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Diego Roman Elena Rodríguez, whose 16-year-old brother, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, was shot to death by a Border Patrol agent, at the Federal District Court in Tucson on Friday.
NICK OZA / THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC


Agency officials declined to respond to requests for comment on the complaints, directing reporters to remarks from Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske that highlight his effort to make openness and accountability top priorities when he took over the agency in March 2014. One agency official held up Friday’s arraignment of a Border Patrol agent, Lonnie Swartz, on the cross-border killing of a 16-year-old boy, José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, as an example that no one was above the law.

But civil rights lawyers, along with members of Congress from border towns in Texas and Arizona, have long argued that Customs and Border Protection works according to its own rules, resisting calls for greater transparency and accountability.

As evidence, they note that since Jan. 1, 2010, 33 people have died in encounters with border and customs agents but that so far, Agent Swartz has been the only one to face federal criminal charges. (He pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Federal District Court here on Friday.)

Many of the families of those who were killed have also complained that the agency had fought hard to keep the names of agents implicated in the killings under seal; José Antonio’s family had to sue to learn Agent Swartz’s identity.

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Taide Elena at a memorial to her grandson, who was fatally shot by an agent.
SAMANTHA SAIS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES


The agency has also been slow to investigate when shots are fired but no injuries are confirmed, and failed to track the number of stops at checkpoints or by roving patrols unless the stops result in arrests. A 2013 report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum said such “no harm, no foul” procedures can lead to a “tacit approval of bad practices.”

Mr. Kerlikowske, in response, has convened panels and pushed for changes in the way the agency does business.

In particular, he has championed the recommendations released in June by the Integrity Advisory Panel, of which Commissioner William J. Bratton of New York is vice chairman. Its recommendations for the agency ranged from basic — “emphasize that its overarching responsibility is to preserve human life” — to practical, such as enforcing requirements that all uniformed personnel wear visible name tags at all times and improving Spanish-language abilities at its call centers, where many of the abuse complaints are logged.

“I am taking steps to make transparency and accountability hallmarks of my tenure at C.B.P.,” Mr. Kerlikowske said in April during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “The public’s trust in us depends on it.”

This month, he announced the latest of several policy updates, calling for proper safekeeping of the personal effects of migrants apprehended while illegally crossing the border, adequate standards of hygiene and temperature in holding cells, and specific language on gender identity, which did not exist.

On Tuesday, the agency reported that use-of-force incidents dropped by 26 percent over the past fiscal year — to 768 in the 2015 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, from 1,037 in the 2014 fiscal year. There were 28 incidents involving firearms in the 2015 fiscal year, one fewer than in the previous fiscal year.

In a statement, Commissioner Kerlikowske said that he was “encouraged by the progress,” but that “more can be done.”

Civil rights advocates and elected officials say the agency still has a long way to go.

The civil rights complaints filed by motorists at checkpoints and roving patrols in Arizona and southeastern California that are part of the A.C.L.U. records — as well as hundreds of other cases found in complaint records obtained independently by The New York Times — are full of accusations of lengthy detentions and damaged property, such as ripped carpets and seats as agents presumably searched for drugs.

Often, drivers claimed that the agents’ aggressive reactions were prompted by a simple question: Why had their vehicle been picked for an inspection?

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona, whose district includes border communities from Nogales to Yuma, said his office has received numerous such complaints from constituents, who speak of “being frustrated” and “losing confidence” over the Border Patrol’s “justifications and judgment.”

“Citizens, permanent legal residents, people who have lived in the borderlands for generations — that’s who’s making these complaints,” said Mr. Grijalva, who added that he also had his car searched this year at a checkpoint south of Tucson. “People make the complaints, but their complaints go nowhere. There’s no acknowledgment, absolutely no response.”

Many of the complaints that he and the A.C.L.U. have received make allegations of ethnic profiling. One, by a lawyer for the City of Nogales, says, “How many non-Hispanic-looking persons get subjected to nonimmigration questions? How many declarations of U.S. citizenship by non-Hispanic-looking persons are subject to further questioning? The tired excuse of ‘the dog alerted’ has worn incredibly thin as a reason to search Hispanics.”

Agents rely heavily on drug-sniffing dogs to inspect the thousands of cars that go through the Border Patrol’s busiest checkpoints, tollbooth-like way stations near the border. But the agency does not seem to keep track of when dogs alert, how often they alert and how often their alerts are wrong. It records an alert only when it results in an arrest.

Jane Bambauer, an associate professor of law at the University of Arizona, said this type of detailed record-keeping was “critical to accountability” because it would allow the agency to assess if a program was working.

“If they’re only reporting when their hunches turn out to be correct, we can’t say if their hunches have been reliable,” said Ms. Bambauer, who joined the A.C.L.U. in its public records request, which the Homeland Security Department ignored until it was sued. “What you end up with is a pretty aggressive agency that doesn’t know how to measure the effectiveness of all the power that it wields.”
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