Border Patrol’s Killing of Woman Brings Transparency Calls

An agent killed a woman near the Mexican border in Texas after the agent said he was rushed by a group of suspected illegal border crossers.

The Border Patrol’s shooting death of a woman near the Mexican border in Texas is renewing calls by immigration advocates for greater transparency in how such incidents are investigated, reports the Wall Street Journal. The woman, identified by the Guatemalan government as Claudia Patricia Gómez González, 19. was shot last Wednesday after an agent responded to a report of illegal activity in a culvert in Rio Bravo, Texas, and said he was rushed by a group of suspected illegal border crossers, the agency said. A nearby resident who posted a Facebook video of the shooting’s aftermath  said Gómez had been shot in the head.

“You killed her! Why did you kill her?” the woman on the recording shouted to agents, who didn’t appear to respond. The woman also told others in the area that the agent “shot her in the head because she was running.” The shooting comes amid President Trump’s emphasis on stiffening security along the Mexican border, from his proposed border wall to his plan to deploy National Guard troops and hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents. Arrests of people crossing the border illegally remain at lows last seen in the early 1970s. Since October 1, agents have made 211,000 arrests along the Mexican border. Immigration and civil-rights advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, renewed calls after this past week’s incident for greater oversight and transparency into Border Patrol investigations. “While we do not have all the facts in this case, Border Patrol’s history of violence against immigrants requires us to scrutinize every incident involving lethal force closely,” said the ACLU’s Astrid Dominguez. The patrol has come under fire for its use-of-force policies and investigations in shooting incidents. From October through March, the patrol reported 235 use-of-force instances, including nine times when agents fired a gun.