PHOENIX, Arizona – A report prepared by a group of U.S. citizens living near the border with Mexico says that Latinos are 26 times more likely to be required by the Border Patrol to identify themselves than Anglo-Saxons.
“For more than 1,000 hours, our group documented the actions of border agents at the checkpoint,” Peter Ragan, a member of the People Helping People group in the border zone, told Efe on Monday.
According to the report released Sunday by the group, passengers of Latino origin are 26 times more likely to be asked for their identification by a federal agent at the checkpoint than Anglo-Saxon passengers.
Volunteers with the PHP observed and documented the activities of Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint established in Arivaca, Arizona, 25 miles north of the Mexican border.
Between February and the end of April, the observers watched agents process 2,379 vehicles as they passed through the checkpoint.
The report says that Latino occupants of the vehicles passing through the checkpoint were 20 times more likely to have to undergo a secondary inspection, where the vehicles are searched on some occasions by trained sniffer dogs.
Carlota Wray, a resident of Arivaca told Efe how she had been a target of numerous searches by border agents at the checkpoint in contrast to her Anglo-Saxon friends.
“I have to go through with my passport in hand, because I know that as soon as they see me they’re going to ask me to prove my citizenship,” she said, indicating the color of her skin.
Other PHP volunteers documented residents’ complaints that they have had to undergo secondary inspections lasting up to 45 minutes.
In 2012, the PHP began a campaign to ask the federal government to remove the checkpoint from Arivaca, saying that it was hurting local business and affecting the daily lives of the residents who were forced to move around town daily in going about their daily activities, like taking their children to school, going shopping or just visiting family members.
Arivaca residents are not the only ones who have complained about what occurs at checkpoints being administered by the Border Patrol.
The American Civil Liberties Union has also complained of abuses and has unsuccessfully requested information from the federal agency regarding the checkpoints.
The Tucson Sector Border Patrol refused to comment on the report saying that it had not yet seen it.