Sunday, May 30, 2010

US Border Patrol Beats, Electrocutes Mexican Migrant, Causing Brain Damage

Anastasio Hernández Rojas suffered electrical shocks at the hands of about 20 US border agents until he lost consciousness and was left with brain damage

by Julieta Martínez, El Universal

Relatives of Anastasio Hernández Rojas, the Mexican who was beaten and suffered electrical shocks at the hands of twenty border agents until he lost consciousness and was left with brain damage, will travel to the United States to assess his situation.

Authorities in the neighboring country detained Hernández Rojas' brother, who was also waiting to be deported through Puerta México.  Both had crossed to the other side of the border without documents on Friday morning.

The aggression occurred during the night that same day, when the 35-year-old man supposedly tried to resist repatriation. 

The Border Patrol justified the incident, stating that Hernández Rojas had started a fight with an agent on the force, which is why he had to be submitted in order to "protect" the officer.

According to witnesses, the beating began in the deportation area, which can't be seen from the Mexican side, but a woman who was crossing into Mexico alerted National Migration Institute agents on the Mexican side that "they were nearly killing a person."

Anastasio crawled to where he could be seen from Mexican territory, and US agents followed him.  In front of dozens of people who were in Mexico, they kicked him and shocked him until he stopped yelling and moving. 

The young man was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista where he remains unconscious and in grave condition.

A complaint will be filed in Washington

The American Friends Service Committee's national commissioner of Immigration Affairs, Christian Ramírez, expressed his indignation at acts he called "barbarous." 

He said that he will file a formal complaint with the United States Homeland Security Department and the Justice Department for alleged police brutality.

He said he is waiting on a report from the San Diego Police Department to add to the complaint he'll bring to Washington.

The the attack against Hernández Rojas is a priority because it demonstrates a violent and hostile climate against the migrant community, he said.

He warned that this could be a result of the recently enacted anti-immigrant laws and that the international community should be concerned because the intent to militarize the border is also moving forward. 

The Mexican Consulate General in San Diego also decried the act and requested witnesses' cooperation in providing testimony and more agents investigating the case.

He confirmed that the Mexican was subdued with violence, "taking into account that this is about what appears to be a case of disproportionate use of force committed by, allegedly, agents from the Border Patrol and US Customs and Border Protection."


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