10 Shots Across the Border

  By: Mark Binelli  The killing of a Mexican 16-year-old raises troubling questions about the United States Border Patrol. Around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2012, a police officer in Nogales, Ariz., named John Zuñiga received a call reporting suspicious activity on International Street, which runs directly alongside the Mexican border. Most of Zuñiga’s calls involved shoplifters at the local Walmart or domestic-violence complaints, but he also worked as a liaison with United States Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.). Though border security is the responsibility of the Border Patrol, the Nogales police can assist when illegal activity is happening stateside — if, for instance, drug smugglers have slipped over the fence and are making their way into Arizona. Continue reading

SPECIAL: Valley prepares for next wave of Central American children

  By: Mark Wiggins The rust-brown fence topping the northern levee of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo County is the dividing line between two worlds, which many are willing to risk their lives to cross. "So the stories are always going to be the same, right?" explained Omar Zamora, public affairs officer for the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector. "The pull factors, it's going to be family reunification and some sort of economic benefit, just trying to get here to get a job and send money back home. In addition to that, we hear that there's violence. We've got gangs over there that are controlling the neighborhoods, controlling the cities."   Continue reading

Activists push for body cams for border agents

  By: Tatiana Sanchez Immigration activists in San Diego are continuing a national push for the implementation of body-worn cameras for agents and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Advocates with the Southern Border Communities Coalition recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and officials with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the matter. Continue reading

'Border Cantos' -- memorable journey in sight and sound

  By: Robert Taylor The facts and figures are precise in the brochure and wall text for "Border Cantos," the new exhibit of photographs and handcrafted musical instruments at the San Jose Museum of Art: The border between the United StateUs and Mexico is 1,969 miles long. A fence covers about 700 of those miles. During a northward surge of minors in 2013 and 2014, U.S. authorities apprehended 52,193 children. But what does it feel like to actually be there? Are there traces of those children's journey? Some of the answers are in this straightforward but almost metaphysical collaboration by Berkeley photographer Richard Misrach and Oakland composer Guillermo Galindo. Continue reading

Deaths, suicides at immigration centers on the rise due to lack of care, report says

  TUCSON, ARIZ. (AP) –  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has for years provided inadequate medical care at its detention facilities, leading to in-custody deaths, according to a report by a coalition of advocacy groups. The ACLU, Detention Watch Network and National Immigrant Justice Center examined reports filed by an ICE review board in charge of investigating detention deaths. The coalition examined reports from 2010 to 2012, but advocates say the problem is ongoing and getting worse, especially in Arizona, where a detention center 65 miles south of Phoenix is known as the deadliest in the country. Separately, ICE data from its website shows that there have been 155 in-custody deaths between October 2003 and Jan. 25, 2016. Continue reading

Former immigration agent guilty in bribe-for-benefits scheme

  By: Associated Press   A former federal immigration officer has been found guilty of taking bribes from a Los Angeles attorney in exchange for approving immigration applications. Jesus Figueroa of Los Angeles was found guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of accepting bribes. The 69-year-old Figueroa was also convicted of misusing the seal of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Continue reading

Nationwide Police Reform and Border Groups Call on CBP to Deploy Body-Worn Cameras

  Southern Border Region/Washington D.C. - More than 65 organizations from across the country united today on a letter to CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske that urges Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to equip their agents with body-worn cameras paired with privacy protections. Continue reading

San Diegans support refugees on Human Rights Day

  By: Tatiana Sanchez About 350 demonstrators gathered Thursday evening in support of refugees, amid a global debate about refugee resettlement that has intensified in recent weeks following deadly terrorist attacks. The issue is particularly poignant in San Diego County, where as many as 3,000 refugees are resettled each year. The county has consistently admitted the most refugees in California for the past seven years, according to state data. Continue reading

US Customs and Border Protection Test Body Cams to Reduce Use of Force

(NEW YORK) — It’s the largest police force in the country with about 60,000 employees, and now U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the first to conduct a massive experiment to test the use of body cameras along the United States borders. Agents have been testing different models of body cameras as part of an initiative to reduce use of force — and it’s these cameras that are the most controversial part of a new 18-month retraining program ordered by reform Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. Continue reading

Border Patrol must have body cameras

  The recently published editorial “Border Patrol resistant to body cameras,” rightly concluded that U.S. Custom and Border Protections (CBP), which includes Border Patrol, should be held to the same standards of accountability and transparency as local police. We agree and have urged CBP to implement body-worn cameras with privacy protections since October 2012. Since January 2010, CBP — the largest law enforcement agency in the country — hasclaimed the lives of at least 42 people without consequence. Many of those killed by Border Patrol were unarmed civilians, at least 18 were U.S. citizens and six were standing in Mexico, like teens Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca or Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. Continue reading

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