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Border Patrol agents fire on undocumented immigrants

Brownsville Herald | September 9 2005
By Sara Inés Calderon

Several Border Patrol agents were involved in a shooting near the Hidalgo port of entry Saturday. The Mexican consulate in McAllen was notified when the incident occurred, said vice consul Sandra Mendoza, but they have yet to receive a written report.

“It is very important for the Mexican government to investigate all incidents along the border,” Mendoza said. “In this case the agent shot a Mexican national and we are asking that the Border Patrol provide us with a report about this case.”

Border Patrol spokesman Roy Cervantes confirmed a shooting took place but would not comment on Mexican media re-ports that two agents were hospitalized for injuries received when they confronted three Mexican nationals attempting to cross the Rio Grande. The immigrants reportedly threw rocks at the agents, who responded with gunfire and orders for the three to stop.

“The FBI is still investigating the incident,” said Federal Bureau of Investigation media coordinator in McAllen Jorge Cisneros.

Abner Burnett is a lawyer with the South Texas Civil Rights Project in San Juan and characterized the incident as an “unfortunate confrontation” that did not cast any parties involved in a favorable light. Burnett said the exact circum-stances surrounding the incident would have to be examined.

“It sounds like excessive use of force, but if I were bleeding, I guess I would think of it differently,” he said, “Commonly, the use of deadly force is only justified if the life of the officer or a fellow officer or another citizen is eminently threat-ened.”

Border Patrol officials declined to provide a copy of their deadly force policy at press time Tuesday



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