Migrant Killed by Border Patrol in San Diego


Agent fails to use non-lethal force in alleged rock throwing incident

San Diego, CA: On Tuesday morning, a migrant was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent who was pursuing him on foot in a rural area of San Diego.  The name of the agent and the identity of the victim have not been released.

Since January 2010, at least 28 individuals have died as the result of an encounter with CBP officials.  At least 27 deaths resulted from the use of lethal force; one person died after not receiving adequate medical attention.

The Arizona Republic has recently reported that 42 individuals have been killed by Border Patrol agents since Feb. 2005 and, "In none of the 42 deaths is any agent or officer publicly known to have faced consequences - not from the Border Patrol, not from Customs and Border Protection or Homeland Security, not from the Department of Justice, and not, ultimately, from criminal or civil courts."

In response to this recent incident, Christian Ramírez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, released the following statement:

"Lethal force incidents should be thoroughly investigated. It is important that the public be assured that Border Patrol agents are well equipped and trained to prevent loss of life and held accountable when they use excessive force. Border Patrol must adhere to the best of policing practices and border communities reiterate that the federal agency must release the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) findings that look into the Border Patrol's use-of-force policy."  

At the moment Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) use-of-force policies have come under wide scrutiny resulting from the growing number of killings.  

Mounting pressure from affected families, human rights organizations, members of Congress, and international bodies including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, have pushed the Department of Homeland Security to begin investigating these cases as well as CBP's use-of-force practices.

The PERF's conclusions privately released to CBP in November included recommendations suggesting that Customs and Border Protection "train agents to de-escalate these encounters by taking cover, moving out of range and/or using less lethal weapons. Agents should not place themselves in positions where they have no alternatives to using deadly force."  

Border Patrol Chief Mike Fisher responded in an interview with the Associated Press by disavowing the recommendations and effectively declaring that border agents will continue to use deadly force in cases involving unarmed civilians. 

Through this interview, it became known that many other recommendations made by the PERF have been kept internal to CBP, exemplifying the agency's lack of transparency and further eroding trust with the public.  

The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General report on CBP's use-of-force, the recommendations urging restraint in use-of-force incidents were blacked out, including references to PERF's other recommendations.

The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), is made up of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (CA), Border Action Network (AZ), Arizona Sonora Border Coalition (AZ), Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy & Services (NM), and Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network (TX).