TUCSON, Arizona – Activists and the families of people slain by U.S. Border Patrol agents described on Tuesday as a step forward the removal of the internal affairs director of Customs and Border Protection.
“This is a significant step forward but we don’t want to leave it at that, we want to see real reforms enacted within the CBP system and the Border Patrol,” Eugenia Carrasco, representative of the Human Rights Coalition in Arizona, told Efe.
The dismissal is the result of pressure exerted by various organizations and by the families of people shot and killed by Border Patrol agents, she said.
CBP announced Monday the removal of James F. Tomscheck as internal affairs director for not carrying out in-depth investigations of complaints about Border Patrol agents’ abuse of deadly force.
“We’re seeing that whatever the politicians say, deaths on the border continue to be reported,” Carrasco said. “Recently Border Patrol agents killed another person here in Arizona. They said he was carrying a pistol but it wasn’t so. He had drugs in his car but no weapons.”
That death was on the exactly the same day that the CBP announced new regulations for the use of deadly force.
Under the new rules, Customs and Border Patrol agents may only activate their arms when their lives are in danger.
“This is something we are achieving step by tiny step and we see that our struggle is bearing fruit,” Guadalupe Guerrero, mother of Carlos Lamadrid, a U.S. citizen who died at the hands of Border Patrol agents in May 2011, told Efe on Tuesday.
Since the death of her 19-year-old son when he tried to escape the authorities by climbing the border fence into Mexican territory, Guerrero has dedicated all her efforts to reporting the actions of Border Patrol agents and seeking change.
According to a report by the Washington-based American Immigration Council, only 13 of 809 abuse complaints against CBP agents within 100 miles of the Southwest border from January 2009 to January 2012 led to disciplinary action.