The Southern Border Communities Coalition acknowledged that the Border Patrol's decision to modify its regulations on the use of force is "a step in the right direction."
The new policies were the result of pressure by border communities and lawmakers who asked that an end be put to the wave of incidents involving firearms and Border Patrol agents, which have resulted in the deaths of about 20 people since 2010, coalition director Christian Ramirez told Efe.
"The key moment in this process of raising awareness occurred in 2012 after a ... video was publicly released that documented the beating and death of San Diego resident Anastacio Rojas, 42, the father of five children, who was beaten in May 2010 by more than a dozen Border Patrol agents when he was going to be deported to Mexico," Ramirez said.
The video, aired on PBS, showed how Rojas was beaten "while he was lying face down, handcuffed, at the same time that he was subjected four times to the impact of a taser without any regard for the fact that he was begging for his life, dying of a heart attack," he said.
The co-president of the coalition, Andrea Guerrero, told Efe that activists will continue "with our advocacy to ensure ourselves that words are transformed into deeds."
The announcement about the changes in the use of force policy occurred on the same day that a delegation of representatives from the border communities, including law enforcement personnel, businessmen, religious and community leaders met with top-level White House and Border Patrol officials, Guerrero said.
The attention brought by the Rojas case allowed five other incidents in which Border Patrol agents shot and killed people while they were on the Mexican side of the frontier to make it to the national level. EFE