Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network condemns latest human rights abuse by Border Patrol and demands accountability
The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network expresses its horror over the recent assault and rape of three Honduran women immigrants—two of them only fourteen years of age—by an on-duty border patrol agent who later killed himself.
The Network represents tens of thousands of families that live in communities along the southern border. The Network, through our Immigration Working Group, has constantly challenged the border patrol to a public accounting for past actions that have resulted in the loss of life of innocents and the abuse of many others.
The Network has protested the federal government’s militarization of our border region as well as the government’s failure to put in place a functioning oversight mechanism.
Michael Seifert, the Equal Voice Network Weaver and a longtime border resident wondered, “What if the agent had not killed himself? Would the public have even known of the violence done to these women? How many more of these atrocities take place? Will these women, already victimized by a uniformed representative of the US Government, be further humiliated when they are “processed” as people who unlawfully entered the United States?”
Juanita Valdez Cox of La Union del Pueblo Entero, an organization that has members living in the area where the women were first attacked, said, “It is shameful that by neglecting the proper training and supervision of their agents, Border Patrol allowed this to happen. While some may say it is an isolated case, there are too many of these isolated cases of abuse by Border Patrol agents and Border Patrol has done too little to address the problem. 28 individuals have lost their lives over the last three years following an encounter with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel. Countless more have suffered abuse varying from denial of water to mental and emotional torture. We are tired of dealing with the consequences of CBP’s reckless disregard for human rights and it needs to stop."
Astrid Dominguez from the ACLU of Texas added that “The ACLU has made recommendations to DHS regarding CBP oversight and accountability, such as the use of body-worn and dashboard cameras deployed within an appropriate policy framework including strong privacy protections. Cameras should be mandated and funded for all CBP enforcement encounters with the public.”
The members of our Network remain concerned for the well-being of the victims of this crime. We expect the agency to seize upon this moment and to make the changes necessary to bring an end to every form of abuse in our border communities.
Members of the Rio Grande Equal Voice Network include South Texas Civil Rights’ Project, The START Center, Proyecto Azteca, and La Union del Pueblo Entero