Revolution #48, May 28, 2006

Feeling Safer Now?

Border Agents shoot first, ask questions later

On May 18, just three days after Bush announced that he wants to send 6,000 National Guard troops to “protect” and further militarize the border, the Border Patrol made it clear that they will continue to intensify their criminalization and terrorizing of those desperately seeking to come to El Norte in search of survival.

It started on California’s Interstate 5, when an SUV carrying six people, including “suspected illegal immigrants,” which had been under surveillance by Border Patrol agents, and was then heading towards Mexico, was forced to stop just 75 feet from the Mexican border and then surrounded by Border Patrol and U.S. Customs agents.

According to the Associated Press and other news sources, witnesses say that an agent struck one of the vehicle’s windows with a baton, breaking it and injuring some of the people inside. Then, after the driver failed to get out of the vehicle when he was commanded to, and with no regard to the people inside the vehicle, agents opened fire and killed the driver. Deadly force was used despite the fact that they had no reason to think that the driver was armed.

Chris Bauder, president of the union that represents Border Patrol agents, had this to say about the border agents’ actions: “Based on what I’ve heard, it sounds like they acted properly and did what they were trained to do.”

Just think of what that means: “They did what they were trained to do.” From the Texas Rangers to the Border Patrol, the history of state armed forces along the border has always been a history of murder, repression, terror, and subjugation towards those migrating to El Norte.

Already, U.S. imperialism uproots immigrants from their homes and loved-ones and forces them to confront a hot deadly desert or the freezing mountains in order to get here, as well as racist vigilantes like the Minutemen, the murderous Border Patrol, and now the possibility of 6,000 military-trained National Guard troops.

In a time when anti-immigrant fervor is on the rise and state-sponsored vigilantes like the Minutemen have begun building their own fences and going out on their own armed patrols, what kind of message does this murder send out? If not an open invitation to shoot first and ask questions later when it comes to suspected illegal immigrants, then what?

And, to those who have been duped into thinking that militarizing the border keeps you safe—how do you feel about police blasting away at the occupants of a van because they suspect there were “illegal aliens” inside? While the system has you irrationally paranoid about “immigrant terrorists,” a deadly police state is quickly coming into place under your nose.

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