This week, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Chief Mike Fisher told the Associated Press that agents would continue to shoot at people throwing rocks at them, despite a recommendation from the Police Executive Research Forum that they stop using deadly force in these cases. In September, CBP announced they would test out car cameras and overhaul basic training in response to criticism about their use of deadly force. But these most recent statement by Fisher seem to indicate they’ll continue using tactics that have resulted in at least 20 deaths, eight specifically from rock-throwing incidents, since 2010.
Last week, reporters at Fusion—working with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute— broke a story confirming that Mexican citizen Guillermo Arevalo was shot dead by border agents while at a family picnic on the Mexico side of the border, after someone allegedly threw rocks. According to Fusion, six of the 20 people shot by CBP were on Mexican soil. Steve Shadowen, a civil rights attorney working with the Arevalo family, shed light on how CBP continues targeting Mexicans at the border.
Imagine if a family of Caucasian Canadians was having a family picnic just across the border in Mexico. Can you imagine the outrage there would be if U.S. border agents took a rifle and indiscriminately shot into the crowd and killed someone?
Chief Fisher says that changing their policies around firing on rock-throwers would put CBP agents in danger, and that it is the “agency’s long-standing position that rocks are lethal weapons.”