The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Nearly a century later, the company continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with close to impunity. The American Immigration Council particulars this historical past in a brand new report, The Legacy of Racism inside the U.S. Border Patrol.
Listed below are 5 key takeaways from the report:
The Racist Coverage Foundations of the Border Patrol
Within the late 19th century, immigration restrictions primarily centered on stopping the entry of Asian immigrants, after their contribution to the development of the railroad was not wanted.
The Immigration Act of 1924 created the Border Patrol and the nationwide origins quota system, which favored the immigration of northern and western Europeans over the remainder of the world. Within the Border Patrol’s early days, the company centered on the unauthorized entry of Asian and southern and western European immigrants over the U.S.-Canada border.
Racialized Immigration Enforcement
Free motion over the border for Mexicans was more and more restricted all through the Twenties. For the primary time, Mexicans have been subjected to visa charges, literacy assessments, and well being examinations.
Within the Nineteen Thirties and Nineteen Forties, the Border Patrol shifted to prioritize enforcement towards Mexicans as an alternative of different unauthorized immigrants.
Particular Mexican Deportation Events have been deployed across the nation in 1944, deporting round 43,000 Mexicans from California alone. In 1954, the Border Patrol started a brand new enforcement technique below the blatantly racist identify “Operation Wetback” which started a method of intensive enforcement in high-traffic areas focusing on Mexican migrants.
The Border Patrol and Mexican officers organized inhumane—and in not less than one case deadly—bus, practice, air, and boat “lifts” into the inside of Mexico instantly after deportation from america.
To at the present time, the Border Patrol continues to racially profile folks of colour, together with Black and Indigenous immigrants.
A Persistent Tradition of Racism
Lots of the first Border Patrol brokers got here from organizations identified for racial violence and brutality, such because the Ku Klux Klan and the Texas Rangers. They introduced with them a tradition of a racist “brotherhood” into the brand new company.
Extra not too long ago, repeated stories have surfaced of brokers utilizing racial slurs, sexual feedback, and different offensive language. Advocates have repeatedly documented the usage of racial profiling in stops inside the inside of america. Brokers have inspired assist from the white supremacist motion and the paramilitary SWAT-style Border Patrol Tactical Unit has participated in crack downs on protests of police brutality towards Black folks.
Violence and Impunity
The Border Patrol has dedicated many acts of sexual and bodily violence towards folks of colour. A long time of progress and militarization have elevated the scope of this violence.
Within the final decade, over 100 folks have been killed by Border Patrol brokers. None of those brokers have been held meaningfully accountable. The American Immigration Council discovered that 2,178 complaints of misconduct have been filed towards the Border Patrol between 2012 and 2015. 95.9% of the circumstances for which an consequence was reported resulted in “no motion” taken towards the accused agent.
Regardless of these issues, the Border Patrol has lowered hiring requirements to pursue speedy workers growth.
The Border Patrol additionally perpetrates abuses by way of its programs and insurance policies. In December 2018, two Indigenous kids died in Border Patrol custody. The kids had come to america from Guatemala with their fathers, who didn’t obtain interpretation of their native languages. The Home Committee on Homeland Safety has tried to research these youngster deaths however the Division of Homeland Safety has not cooperated.
The inhumane situations wherein the Border Patrol detains noncitizens, together with kids, are one other kind of violence inflicted by the company. A category-action lawsuit described how detained people are disadvantaged of heat, sleep, meals, water, medical care, primary sanitation, and phone calls.
In a 2019 survey, 67% of moms reported that whereas within the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP)—the father or mother company of the Border Patrol—their youngster was not seen by a medical supplier.
Beneath the Trump administration, CBP separated roughly 5,500 kids from their mother and father, regardless of warnings of extreme psychological harm and inadequate monitoring mechanisms. Roughly 600 of these kids haven’t been reunited.
For nearly 100 years, the Border Patrol has maintained a tradition of racism and abuse whereas rising right into a sprawling, militarized, and immensely highly effective legislation enforcement company. The harms of immigration enforcement in border communities can’t be resolved with out acknowledgement of this historical past.
FILED UNDER: Abuse, border patrol, Customs and Border Safety, Doe v. Johnson