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[LRL] Border Patrol - A History of Corruption and Violence

[LRL] Border Patrol - A History of Corruption and Violence

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Published by: vomeditor on Feb 03, 2013
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From: Foro de comunicacion para Latinos del suroeste de los EEUU [LARED-L@LISTSERV.CYBERLATINA.NET] on behalf of Devon Peña[devonpena@GMAIL.COM]Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 11:11 AMTo: LARED-L@LISTSERV.CYBERLATINA.NETSubject: [LRL] Border Patrol - A History of Corruption and ViolenceColegas:Please share this report I prepared on the history of corruption and violence in the BorderPatrol. I have also included a summary and link to the just released report by Families forFreedom and the NYU Law School on institutionalized corruption in the Buffalo, NY sectorwhere agents get bonuses for increasing the number of arrests and detentions - which results inan increasing number of citizens and legal immigrants suffering unwarranted harassment anddetention in the latest version of racial profiling as a cash incentive program.Civil society organizations must increase pressure ion the Obama Administration and Congressto convene serious hearings and pursue criminal prosecution of BP and ICE thugs. We shouldalso call for the establishment of a bi-national civil society board of inquiry and review, withsubpoena powers, to provide objective democratic oversight of an organization that is not justout of control but represents a clear and present danger to our democracyPlease go to:http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-border-patrol-official-violence.html Or read below. Feel free to share and re-post as you deem appropriate. I will be following thisup with another report ion the deep roots of this police state organization that we need tobring down.--Devon G. Peña, Ph.D."Memory is a moral obligation, all the time."-J. DerridaThe Border Patrol: Official violence, impunity, and the state of Exceptionhttp://mexmigration.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-border-patrol-official-violence.html http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fefZBYTbtOg/UQ1Eh5WBeRI/AAAAAAAAMZ4/yYzoeG-Dhfk/s1600/896226.jpg>Thugs in uniform? Credit: Indymedia http://www.indymedia.org/images//2007/11/896226.jpg 
 *Corruption in the U.S. Border Patrol runs deep * EVIDENCE REVEALS A LONG HISTORY OFOFFICIAL CORRUPTION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST IMMIGRANTSDevon G. Peña | Seattle, WA | February 2, 2013Those of us who grew up in places like south Texas have been observing the
Border Patrol’s
violent and corrupt behavior on the U.S.-Mexico border for decades. I am inclined to state thatmalfeasance has always been endemic in a state police organization that was originally staffedwith some of the mostcorrupt and violent elements of the old Mounted Guard, which operated with impunity from El
Paso beginning in 1904. However, the ‘modern’ Border Patrol
(BP) was established underprovisions contained in the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924.The early BP was close to a private detective agency. One historian, who studied the 1880s
‘boodler’ scandal on the U.S.
-Canada border, argues that:*Detectives began devising new and more aggressive tactics to prevent boodlers from crossinginto Canada, essentially amounting to a makeshift form of border patrol. The official U.S.Border Patrol was not created until 1924, nearly forty years later; these local constables andprivate detectives were improvising a type of border policing whose only precedent was theTexas Ran
gers’ Indian
campaigns[i]http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2929126317185761970#_edn1 along the Mexican boundary.* (Unterman 2012:179)<http://3.bp.blogspot.com/7kLCV8z2zyE/UQ1DYQdpKOI/AAAAAAAAMZo/Ez0tcfdKgHw/s1600/RangersBridge.jpgTexas Rangers, ca. 1892. Source: Cox (n.d.)
Professor Unterman’s study of the ‘boodler scandal’ –
boodlers were basically white collarcriminals who fled to Canada as fugitives of the law
is instructive because the political andeconomic conditions that existed during the so-called Gilded Age are upon yet again: Violence,corruption, and grotesque extremes in wealth inequalities characterize our period as well.Unterman thus notes how the late 19th and early 20th centuries were also characterized by,
“…patrols and fences…to protect the nation from perceived
external dangers like illegal [sic]
immigrants.” She further notes that we can
understand the patrols and fences of the Gilded
Age as “reactions to a newly
mobile society that was both exciting and terrifying in its destabilizing
power.” (2012:189) I
think this describes the current situation on the U.S.-Mexico border very well, right down to thesense of a state of siege and destabilizing changes wrought of the process of globalization andthe consolidation of a national security state.The history of violence and corruption runs deeper than is usually acknowledged. It is easy toforget but the murder of innocent immigrants by BP agents has been a problem for decades.Claire F. Fox in the book, *The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-MexicoBorder* found evidence
that as far back as the 1970s the border was “highly militarized by
Patrol agents who have ‘shoot to kill’ orders for all Mexicans trying to cross…”
(1999:104).One example of this shoot to kill culture of impunity comes from the Reagan years: On theevening of June 12, 1992, three *mexicanos* crossed the border without inspection nearNogales, Arizona. Two BP agents spotted the braceros and in the ensuing chase, BP AgentMichael Elmer shot one of the undocumented workers, Dario Miranda Valenzuela, in the backand killed him. Elmer claimed self-defense and his partner, Thomas Watson, described hispartner as
“happy…like somebody that ha
d shot their first deer. He was elated, pumped up,
[bragging], ‘I got one.’” Reports indicated that after being shot, Miranda
could have beenhelped and provided with medical attention to survive. Instead, the two officers dragged the
wounded man’s bod
y to a nearby ditch and left him there where he bled out and died aboutthirty minutes later. There was an indictment and a trial but despite testimony by Watsonagainst Elmer, the jury acquitted Elmer on the basis of a self-defense argument; Miranda wasunarmed. (Ong 1995:757)<http://4.bp.blogspot.com/--ZOZ-oL7xuw/UQ1CwCD6c2I/AAAAAAAAMZY/DRStGiXmVTU/s1600/CBPCorruption.jpgWhile investigations increase, prosecution and conviction outcomes are rare.Source: Checkpoint USAwww.checkpointusa.org/blog/index.php/2010/09/16/p225 Social scientists have been documenting corruption and violence for decades and it is importantto clarify to the public that these problems are not the exclusive domain of Mexican lawenforcement. One recent report highlights an interview conducted with a former drug runner
who stated, “The only way to

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