Chicanos to Protest D.A.'s Ruling on Border Shooting
Chicano activists, angry over increasing violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, have organized a march for Saturday in protest of the San Diego County district attorney’s decision not to prosecute a Border Patrol agent who shot a 12-year-old Mexican in the back in April.
Leaders of the march say illegal immigrants are suffering increased abuse from police and Border Patrol agents as well as a rise in threats and attacks by border bandits. In addition to the April 18 shooting of Humberto Carrillo Estrada, they point to the recent cases of a Calexico doctor who said he was beaten by a Border Patrol agent, and to the arrest of another agent in Calexico who is accused of kidnaping and terrorizing a 14-year-old.
The coalition of Chicano groups also wants to draw attention to
immigration problems and to oppose the new immigration bill introduced in Congress last month by Senate Majority Whip Alan K. Simpson.
“We want an end to law enforcement solutions for what is a socio-economic issue,” said Juan Parrino of Union del Barrio.
“As long as people are suffering starving conditions in their countries, they are going to come to the United States to look for a way to survive . . . . As long as people have to cross from one country to another in the dead of night, other people are going to take advantage of them,” Parrino said.
The groups, calling themselves the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Humberto Carrillo, include the Coalition for Law and Justice, Chicano Park Steering Committee and the National Lawyers Guild.
The march will begin at 9 a.m. in San Ysidro Park and will move down San Ysidro Boulevard to the San Ysidro Port of Entry, where it will turn east for a quarter of a mile along a dirt road that runs parallel to the international border.
A 10:30 a.m. rally will be held at the site of the Carrillo Estrada shooting. Parrino said a concurrent rally is being organized in Mexico, and the two are expected to meet at the fence.
Carrillo Estrada, a resident of Tijuana’s Colonia Libertad, was shot by Agent Edward D. (Ned) Cole, who had been trying to apprehend the youth’s 15-year-old brother on the U.S. side of the border.
The district attorney’s office found that the boy threw rocks at Cole, who fired three shots, hitting Carrillo Estrada once in the back.
Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller determined that he did not have authority to prosecute Cole because, although the bullet was fired in the United States, the youth was hit in Mexico.
Parrino said the Chicano leaders will call for prosecution of Cole and for Miller’s dismissal.
“His inaction on this issue is a whitewash,” Parrino said. “He continuously turns his back on the Chicano community on this and other cases we have brought before him regarding the Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service.”
Parrino said the coalition wants bilateral negotiations between the United States and Mexico on the immigration issue, unconditional amnesty for all undocumented workers and their families currently in the United States, and an open border “as guaranteed under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,” the 1848 treaty that ended the war between Mexico and the United States. The treaty gave the United States Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Roberto Martinez, director of the local office of the American Friends Service Committee and a longtime activist for Chicano rights, said he will speak against the newly introduced immigration bill, which is a remake of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill that died last year.
The new bill calls for sanctions against employers who hire undocumented workers, but does not include a provision for amnesty that was in last year’s bill. Under the new proposal, any amnesty program would be delayed until a presidential commission determined that employer sanctions already in place had substantially reduced illegal immigration.
Martinez said the new bill “is even more discriminatory than the other Simpson-Mazzoli bill. It guarantees fewer civil and human rights because it does not even address legalization.”
Martinez said the level of violence at the border “is increasing, and it was bad before.”
Last weekend Calexico police arrested a Border Patrol agent on charges of kidnaping a 14-year-old Mexican and terrorizing him for three days. Robert M. Ferrick allegedly took the youth to a remote area, handcuffed him, cut his hair, forced him to strip and fired a shot near his head while he lay on the ground.
In May, Calexico doctor Jose A. Cisneros accused an agent of beating and humiliating him while another agent watched. The agent involved in that incident, Ken Jarvis, reported that Cisneros was injured while attempting to resist arrest and flee.
The INS Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating both cases.
Martinez said he has documented at least a dozen other cases of alleged Border Patrol and U.S. Customs abuses of illegal immigrants this year. He said the complaints have been filed with INS officials and U.S. Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego), and that the INS has found no evidence of misconduct in any of the cases.
In addition to alleged abuses by officials, rapes, robberies and killings of illegal immigrants by armed bandits are common in the canyons and remote areas along the border.
Sgt. Tom Payne of the San Diego Police Department’s field operations section said four illegal immigrants have been killed at the border this year. Two deaths were reported in 1984.
Illegal immigrants reported one rape this year and 13 last year. Last year they reported 175 robberies, and so far this year they have reported 68 robberies.
Payne said the reported crimes represent many more that go unreported.
“Probably a significant number of people who are robbed go back across the border or continue on.