Photo: Arizona Border: Deaths of Undocumented Mar 2012
The violence in neighboring Mexico and the deaths of undocumented immigrants at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol agents once more marred the situation along the Arizona border in 2012.
One of those deaths occurred on Oct. 10, when 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was on the Mexican side of the frontier at the time, was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent.
According to the federal agency, agents were defending themselves from several individuals who hurled stones at them after abandoning a load of illegal drugs and fleeing back into Mexican territory.
On Dec. 3, Margarito Lopez Morales, a 19-year-old Guatemalan, was also killed by a Border Patrol agent near Sasabe, Arizona.
Two days later, another undocumented immigrant was shot by a Border Patrol agent near Gila Bend.
All these cases are currently under investigation.
“It is our duty to call attention to what is happening on the Arizona border and demand justice for all the victims,” Arizona Human Rights Coalition representative Kat Rodriguez told Efe.
According to figures provided by her organization, over the past two years 19 undocumented immigrants have died at the hands of Border Patrol agents.
“These are 19 people who have died. This is a very serious problem that is occurring on our border. For many years we’ve been demanding that an independent agency investigate these cases and other accusations of abuses,” said the activist, who lamented the fact that fatal shootings by agents rarely result in prosecutions.
“We’re paying our taxes and - therefore - the salaries of the border agents, and so I feel that we have the right to know what is happening,” she emphasized.
Mike Wilson, a representative for the Border Action Network in Arizona, told Efe that there are no consequences for Border Patrol agents who take a person’s life.
“Nobody is held responsible for these deaths. No agency of the government of the United States,” said Wilson.