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Another Week, Another Death for the Border Patrol

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Translated from America’s Voice en Español.

First there was Anastasio, now there is Sergio Adrián — both with the last name Hernández, both Mexican. One was 42 years old, the other barely 15. Both of them died in encounters with U.S. Border Patrol agents. One died in a San Diego hospital, days after he was beaten and Tased at the hands of the agents who had detained him; the other was shot on the strip of land separating El Paso from Ciudad Juárez. Video of the death of Sergio Adrián has been posted on YouTube by Univision. Watch it:

Anastasio was buried in San Diego; Sergio Adrián is mourned in Ciudad Juárez. Both deaths are currently under investigation. Both have been condemned.

The State Department issued the following statement on Tuesday:

“We understand that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents responded on June 7 to a group of suspected illegal immigrants from Mexico near the Paso del Norte Port of Entry (El Paso, TX).

“The agents were reportedly assaulted with rocks by an unknown number of people. During the assault, an agent discharged his firearm, killing one of the suspects.

“We regret the loss of life.”

Amnesty International (AI) has condemned the incident. In a statement issued from London, AI Americas Director Susan Lee said that the shooting was

“a grossly disproportionate response and flies in the face of international standards that compel police to use firearms only as a last resort, in response to an immediate, deadly threat that cannot be contained through lesser means.”

The two incidents have occurred in the midst of a tense debate over Arizona state law SB 1070, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 29th, and the announcement that the federal government is dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.

According to Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of U.S. Border Patrol incidents that have resulted in the death or injury of Mexican nationals rose from five in 2008 to 12 in 2009 — and there have already been 17 such incidents in 2010.

It remains to be seen if the investigations of these incidents will get results, and if, this time, those responsible will be brought to justice.