By JOHANA ABREU
What makes a human being more valuable than others? The United States was built by immigrants; even some of the founding fathers who created the country were immigrants. For instance, the first Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant from Nevis and James Wilson, a founding father who signed the Declaration of Independence, was an immigrant from the United Kingdom. Although the country has a long history of immigrants constructing and shaping the country to what it is today, there is also a long history of immigrant brutality in the country. For example, The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Japanese Internment Camps in 1942 and the currently occurring mistreatment immigrants are receiving outside the borders. The word “illegal” in front of the word “immigrant” has become some type of derogatory term that allows people to mistreat, abuse, dehumanize and make one human less valuable than others as seen through border patrol brutality.
Undocumented immigrants are being treated immorally by border patrol officers. For example, a Washington Post article described that an unarmed man by the name of Anastacio Hernandez in 2010 was tased and beaten to death with batons by border patrol officers near the Tijuana-San Diego border for failing to listen to orders after he had poured a water out of his bottle instead of throwing it out as commanded, which was thus followed by, as Washington Post said: “An agent slapping the jug out of Anastacio’s hands, spinning him around, marching him to a wall, and kicking his legs apart,” and then “striking, in the process, metal screws implanted in Anastacio’s ankle from an old accident.” Patrol agents do not think twice before resorting to violence when illegal immigrants show the slightest and most harmless signs of disobedience. The border control officers did not consider or wonder if perhaps kicking his ankle for misunderstanding a simple water bottle command could injure or hurt him in any way because they believe they have the right to treat him lesser than a human for he is just an illegal immigrant trying to trespass into America to see his lover and five kids.
Furthermore, the Washington Post claimed that a witness by the name of Ashley Young caught the terrible action on video and claimed that “immigration officials were grabbing people’s cameras one by one.” Border agents are quick to cover and hide the truth from the public of their horrid and abusing treatment of unarmed illegal trespassers. The border agents themselves know their actions towards Anastacio were brutal and unnecessary because they immediately forced witnesses to give up their cameras and evidences to hide their cruel actions towards the once loving father of five. Additionally, another brutal act from border agents that resulted into an innocent death was in 2010, when a 15 year old boy by the name of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca. An Oyez article declared that he was playing with his friends near the cement curvet of the Rio Grande River, which separates Texas from Mexico, and was later shot on the Mexican side of the Southern border by a border patrol agent. The Oyez article also stated that the patrol agent, Jesus Mesa Jr., claimed that he felt threatened by the boys and his friends, but the Univision video capturing the incident shows that Sergio and his friends had been running to the incline culvert to the U.S. side of it before running back and touching the incline of Mexican side. Mesa caught one of the boys and then, from the U.S. side of the fence, had shot Sergio twice as he was hiding on the Mexican side. As seen through a video from Univision news, the shots resulted in the young boy’s death, for one of the shots hit his head. Border patrol agents can be inconsiderate and thoughtless when they shoot or take action towards any living body making a move near the border. This boy was simply playing a harmless and careless game which resulted to an unjust death that should have never happened under any circumstances, even if he was going near the border. Was it truly just for him to be shot not once but twice? He was obviously on his side of the border and showed no threat what so ever. It is not a matter of immigrants trying to pass into the country anymore, it is the matter of unarmed and harmless immigrants being violated and attacked for simply not being American citizens.
Nonetheless, border patrol is necessary and undocumented immigrants trespassing has become an issue within the United States. A Pew Study Research claims that “there were 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2015.” The amount of undocumented immigrants is huge and the problem must be fixed. The issue of undocumented immigrants must be resolved, which would make sense to why there is border patrol: to decrease the number of undocumented immigrants. Furthermore, the same Pew Study Research study claims that “unauthorized immigrants from Mexico make up at least 75 percent of the total unauthorized immigrant population in three states.” It only makes sense that there should be some type of border control to maintain and lower the amount of immigrants coming into the country undocumented. Due to the huge amount of undocumented immigrants coming from Mexico, it is only logical to have border agents to check, control, and make sure no people come to the country illegally, but at what cost? Sure, it makes sense to have border control, but in what way? The current way border control in the United States is running is brutal and inhumane. For instance, a study by Los Angeles Times showed that there are at least “67 deadly force incidents involving Border Patrol agents.” Yes, it is necessary to have border patrol, but not the barbaric and horrible way it is running right now. It has resulted in innocent deaths that show that border patrol no longer has morals when it comes to handling immigrants.
The United States has had a history of immigrants, but the way border patrol has treated non-American citizens is unjust and cold-blooded as seen through both of Anastacio’s and Sergio’s deaths. Border control agents should know their limits, and–best of all–morals when it comes to handling the way immigrants should be treated. The border agents should have known and realized that the two victims did not deserve the abusement and mistreatment that resulted into their death. No matter whether one is an immigrant or non-citizen, all humans deserve respect and should have morals applied to them, and it seems that border patrol agents have failed to see so lately. The deaths of these innocent men left a terrible mark on this country. It screams discrimination and cruelty, which is the opposite of what the United States should represent. It is time for a change and a wake-up call.