What happens when US Border Patrol agents shoot across international lines, killing Mexicans in their own country?
In October 2012, a US Border Patrol agent fired through the 20-foot steel fence separating Nogales, Arizona from Nogales, Mexico and killed an unarmed 16-year-old Mexican boy, putting 10 bullets through his body.
When he fell over dead they kept shooting
This was not an isolated incident by a rogue agent, but just the latest in a string of cross-border shootings that raise serious questions about oversight and accountability of the Border Patrol. In the last three years, Border Patrol agents have killed six Mexican citizens on their native soil, firing through the border to threaten and injure even more.
One man was shot while picnicking with his family on the banks of the Rio Grande. A 15-year-old boy was hit between the eyes by a bullet for allegedly throwing rocks.
None of these cases have led to any known disciplinary action or criminal charges against the border police, and US courts have rejected claims made by victims’ families, asserting that Mexican citizens do not have the same constitutional protections as US citizens – effectively giving the agents carte blanche to act with impunity.
Fault Lines travels to the border town of Nogales – currently the nexus for this increasingly lawless law enforcement – to meet the Mexican families who have lost their young sons at the hands of US agents who many accuse of being immune from the law.
Fault Lines can be seen on Al Jazeera English each week at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2230; Thursday: 0930; Friday: 0330; Saturday: 1630.