Spanish-language media pick up on Border Patrol use-of-force report

Border Patrol agents confer near a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in La Joya, Texas.
(John Moore / Getty Images)

TUCSON — Spanish-language media — particularly in Mexico — are abuzz following a Tribune Washington Bureau report on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s use of deadly force while patrolling the nation’s border with Mexico.

The article was based on an independent review of U.S. Border Patrol shootings. The report — conducted by a group of law enforcement experts — criticized agents for “lack of diligence” in theirs investigations, suggesting agents intentionally provoked confrontations by sometimes stepping in the path of cars apparently to justify shootings.

El Universal, a leading Mexican newspaper, reported that the review shows that some Border Patrol agents “step in front of a vehicle to apparently justify shooting at motorists or have responded with firing shots because people have thrown rocks from the Mexican side.”


The newspaper also reported that Mexican authorities have complained for years that Border Patrol agents who kill Mexicans are rarely punished and that the results of investigations have not been published for years.

“Critics have contended that the deaths or abuses are inevitable unless strict policies are put in place to limit the use of deadly force for Border Patrol agents,” El Universal reported.

Other media outlets, such as Univision and La Opinion also reported on the matter.

Two immigrant rights groups, in an uproar, called on the border agency to release the report in question. The federal agency has refused to do so.

America’s Voice, a Washington-based left-leaning group with close ties to the Obama administration, chimed in with a message to the Department of Homeland Security on Twitter, writing that “@DHSGov it’s time to clean up #BorderPatrol & end the shameful practice of shooting unarmed civilians.”

Others used much stronger language.

Julieta Garibay, legislative affairs associate with immigrant rights groups United We Dream, tweeted that “BorderPatrol shoots 1st, asks ?s later&gets away w/murder.”


It’s unclear whether the federal agency will release the report any time soon.

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