Update (6/1/2016): Six years after Anastasio Hernández Rojas’ death, there sadly remains no accountability for his brutal killing. In November 2015, the Department of Justice declined to bring criminal charges against any of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel involved in his death. More than six months later, CBP has not announced any administrative findings or discipline.
Anastasio’s family and memory continue to be mistreated by the federal government’s failure to bring justice to his case. The ACLU, Southern Border Communities Coalition, and allies held a vigil at CBP Headquarters, calling on CBP to address past use-of-force cases and commit to respect for all individuals’ human and civil rights. CBP has introduced an improved use-of-force policy, but needs to act with much greater urgency on other badly needed reforms like body-worn cameras and a transparent, responsive complaint process.
The Border Patrol is running wild in our nation’s border communities, and local residents are suffering.
In recent years, our federal government has massively ramped up spending on enforcement in the name of “border security,” turning border communities into militarized zones.
The stories don’t make national headlines, but every day residents of border communities face warrantless stops and searches, destruction of private property, and physical abuse from Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. The worst part is that right now there is no clear, effective complaint and disciplinary process for reporting these violations and holding the perpetrators accountable.
But we have an opportunity to change that. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — the federal department in charge of CBP — has already pledged reform. So now is the time for civil liberties supporters to stand together and demand common-sense regulations that rein in runaway abuse.
While many law enforcement agencies have clear, publicized processes for reporting abuses, CBP does not. Border residents, particularly those who do not speak English, have nowhere to turn when Border Patrol agents overstep their authority.
And based on local reports and complaints border residents have filed with the ACLU, it's clear that abuse of power by Border Patrol agents is all too common.
Sign the petition to President Obama and Secretary Jeh Johnson asking for implementation of a strong, transparent, investigation and complaints mechanism to hold CBP accountable for abuses.
President Obama and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: The border region is not a military zone and everyone's rights there must be respected. We urge you to establish a robust investigation and complaint process for holding CBP agents accountable for any abuses.