Outrage over Mexican migrant’s death in US Border Patrol custody
Anastasio Hernández Rojas was a 42 year old husband and father of five. He was brutally beaten and killed while in the custody of US Border Patrol agents on May 28.
Rojas was in the process of being deported back to Mexico when US Border Patrol agents used what many are calling excessive force to detain him. It is still unclear why the agents needed to detain him while he was already in custody.
Rojas came to the United States at the age of 14 and lived most of his life in San Diego, California and worked as a construction worker.
“I’m outraged about what took place,” said Enrique Morones, the founder of Border Angels.
He continued, “This is a crime against a human being, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, and it’s just another tragedy that is going to continue to happen until we have humane immigration reform.”
Current understanding is that the incident may have involved up to 20 Border Patrol agents, physical violence and a taser, a device many human rights organizations consider to be cruel and unusual.
“They were kicking him once he was down, he was unconscious, they kept on beating him. This is inhuman. No one has the right to do something like that. This is an abuse of force” said Morones.
In response, the US Border Patrol said: “The subject became combative. After repeated orders to cease one of the officers deployed a taser to subdue the individual and maintain officer safety.”
“We need to see the tape; we need to see what kind of investigation there is. Speaking of investigation, we don’t want law enforcement to investigate law enforcement. We want to civil rights commission from Washington to come and investigate this. We want people from Mexico from the Human Rights Commission to come investigate this,” said Morones.
Previous incidents ending in the death or injury of migrants have been investigated by law enforcement and typically have found no fault on the side of the law enforcement agency..
There is a growing climate of anti-immigration sentiment in America, which can be seen most notably in the recent Arizona anti-immigration law. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met with US President Barack Obama on June 3rd to discuss the immigration issue and a request for increased troops on the US-Mexico border.
“I think it’s very important that we continue to demonstrate and we continue to ask for humane immigration reform, that we let our voices be heard. We need to continue to realize that the people who are coming to this country add to the value system of this country, to the economy of this country,” said Morones.