By Christian Ramirez
As a lifetime border resident, I object to the “cozy” characterization of the relationship between border communities and law enforcement in USA TODAY's article, "In a border town, locals 'very fond' of their federal Border Patrol officers." Far from feeling safe or comforted by the overwhelming presence of law enforcement officers, many of us feel as though we're living in occupied territory.
Daily life is changing for the worse in border communities. My friends and neighbors are subjected to harassment, racial profiling, and warrantless searches by federal agents who patrol my communities.
As a long-time resident of the borderlands, I know how important security is to my community and our homeland. But Border Patrol agents — operating with little to no oversight — regularly trample the rights and dignity of border residents. When federal agents are able to stop, interrogate, and search children on their way to school, parents on their way to work, and parishioners on their way to a house worship; our security as a nation has been undermined.
This abuse of authority breaks down our communities' trust of law enforcement, which ultimately compromises our safety even more.