These U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents tried to “deport” a man to Mexico, the easy way. It was not the right way, though.
A vide obtained by NBC News shows the border agents trying to dump a reportedly mentally unstable and injured across the border into Mexico because he “looks like” he is Mexican. They also lied about the man not being in their custody, despite the fact he was handcuffed and failed to identify him.
Their actions are a violation of international law.
The incident occurred on March 27, 2017 at the U.S.-Mexico border in Calexico, California — a place which is reportedly infamous for U.S. agents deporting undocumented immigrants stealthily. This time around, a videographer was ready for such an event to happen — and he wasn’t disappointed.
As the U.S. agents tried to abandon the man at the border, they were intercepted by the Mexican agents who stopped them.
“You know you can’t take him out through here,” a Mexican agent said, telling the agents to take him to a Mexican consulate.
He was right, because according to the U.S.-Mexico treaty, Mexicans must be officially repatriated through the Mexican consulate after their identities have been confirmed. They are also given their repatriation document and then flown back to their country.
However, the agent was adamant.
“Why would I have to call the consulate?” one of the agent said. “He’s not in my custody.”
It’s clear from the video the U.S agents themselves did not whether the man was, in fact, from Mexico.
“I think he’s Mexican. He’s going back to his country ... He looks like it,” the agent said.
The fact the agent based the man’s nationality on his looks is disturbing in itself. There is no way anyone can tell where a person is from just by looking at his face. And it’s not just the Mexicans who cross into the U.S. from the Mexico side. As previously reported, other Central American immigrants from embattled countries, particularly Hondurans, also make their way into America via Mexico.
Thwarted after the refusal, the U.S. agents let the man walk into traffic on the U.S. border side, according to the video. Later, reportedly, they ditched the man in a park and he wandered away. A citizen saw his strange behavior and took him to a hospital, according to law enforcement authorities.
The CBP lost track of the man for nearly a month, according to NBC. However, on April 19, the border patrol agents once again spotted him trying to illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico. Only then was the man taken to the Mexican consulate where it was confirmed he was a Mexican national and had been detained 16 times for trying to unlawfully cross the border into Texas, California and Arizona.
The U.S. agents, by not following the proper procedure, forego to catalogue the man’s detention into the agency’s database. They also could not determine the man’s identity, whether he was eligible for asylum or even if he had a criminal background — the very thing the Trump administration touts when it is pushing its harsher vetting process for immigrant.
A spokesman for CBP said the video is just an “isolated incident.”
But according to American Immigration Council, out of the 600 immigrants who were deported to Mexico, over 50 percent did not get their repatriation documents and were not asked about the situation in their homeland.
The group said almost 25 percent of them said they were abused by the U.S. immigration officials.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Loren Elliott