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Between a Rock and Respect for Life at the Border

Created: 11 June, 2010
Updated: 26 July, 2022
2 min read

DOJ must fully investigate mounting deaths and violence at border

Los Angeles – News of two recent deaths in the border region involving U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents highlights once again the dangers of militarization of the region and adequate training of those patrolling the area. As the border security apparatus grows in size and breadth, these untimely deaths raise many questions. The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional human and immigrant rights not-for-profit community-based organization based in Los Angeles.

    “We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas and 14-year old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca. By all accounts, Mr. Hernandez-Rojas was not a criminal or a threat to anyone in his community. He was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents attempting to reenter the country he has called home since he was a minor. In the case of Sergio Adrian, he was an unarmed teen attempting to cross the border without authorization.

    These deaths should and could have been prevented by CBP. The use of a Taser gun, plastic bullets, or any other form of potentially lethal weapon to subdue an unarmed migrant should be a last resort and only if the life of an agent is in danger. Hernandez-Rojas’ brother who witnessed the incident says his brother was already on the ground when he was tasered. Sergio Adrian was reportedly throwing rocks at the agents when he was shot. In both cases, we believe there was an excessive use of force.

    We expect the truth to come out soon for the benefit of all involved and for the protection of the very freedoms and liberties we all share and value as Americans. What we can say emphatically is that no human being should expect to die when seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

    We are calling on DHS and the Office of Civil Rights in the Justice Department to investigate these two cases thoroughly and address the many questions the families, the community, and the Mexican government have put forth. In addition, we call on CBP to review and adjust if necessary its use of deadly weapons protocol to guarantee the American people that their government respects life at all times in the border region.”

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