Obama Administration Refuses to Stop Use of Lethal Force at the Border

Border Patrol Announcement to Ignore Recommended Changes to Stop Shooting Immigrants is Alarming and Disappointing

11/5/13 – El Paso TX – Southern New Mexico. Today’s decision of the Obama Administration to disregard and ignore the calls and recommendations to change Border Patrol’s protocols in the use of lethal force against unarmed immigrants and border residents is irresponsible and reprehensible.

The announcement of the Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher represents a major regression in the attempt to make border enforcement personnel accountable and opens the door for more incidents of institutional violence at the border and against immigrant families.

The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) condemns this reckless decision of the Administration that fails to bring justice for those who have lost their lives due to wrongful shootings of Border Patrol agents. BNHR, along with other border community organizations and stakeholders, have presented a number of recommendations to clarify Border Patrol’s protocols and procedures in the use of force, including increased training for agents in the use of non-lethal force, new strategies for de-escalation and tactical withdrawal in specific situations, and the effective re-certification of border agents in the use of fire arms.

“With today’s announcement, the Obama Administration and Border Patrol leadership have trashed years of dialogue and engagement with border civil society. They are sending a message of violence, impunity and of a clear disregard of accountability mechanisms”, said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights.

Border Network will continue to call for the implementation of a greater oversight and transparency of federal law enforcement at the border and will not stop denouncing the wrongful and shameful killings of migrants and border residents at the hands of unaccountable border patrol agents.

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