In November 2017, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Matthew Bowen fumed about the humane treatment his agency was expected to give migrants who had illegally crossed into the country.
“PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!” he texted another agent who, at the time, was facing criminal charges for shooting an unarmed Mexican teenager through the border fence. Migrants, Bowen suggested, are “disgusting subhuman s— unworthy of being kindling for a fire.”
Less than two weeks later, prosecutors say, Bowen hit one such migrant with his truck, coming inches away from running the man over — and then lied about the incident in a report.
The texts came to light in filings last month in U.S. District Court in Tucson as Bowen’s attorney fought to suppress a flurry of messages in which the agent used slurs and made light of violence by agents. But Bowen’s views are hardly extraordinary, argued his attorney, Sean Chapman. Rather, his sentiments are “commonplace throughout the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” Chapman wrote, adding that such messages are “part of the agency’s culture.” [Continue reading…]
The U.S. government says a 16-year-old Guatemalan died Monday at a Border Patrol station in South Texas, the fifth death of a migrant child apprehended by border agents since December.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection identified the teenager as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez. CBP said the Border Patrol apprehended the teenager in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on May 13. He was found to be unresponsive during a welfare check Monday morning.
Carlos was detained for six days at the Border Patrol’s processing center in McAllen, Texas, despite federal law and CBP’s guidelines generally requiring the transfer of an unaccompanied youth within three days to a facility operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency said Carlos was “due for placement” in an HHS facility at the time of his death.
CBP said Carlos reported early Sunday morning that he was not feeling well and diagnosed with the flu.
He was prescribed the medicine Tamiflu, then transferred later Sunday to the Border Patrol station at Weslaco, Texas, to prevent his flu from spreading to other detainees. He was not hospitalized.
An agency official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity said Carlos had last been checked an hour before he was found unresponsive. The FBI is investigating the case. [Continue reading…]