March 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Border Patrol has restricted border agents' authority to shoot at moving vehicles or at people throwing rocks, changing a controversial policy that has contributed to at least 19 deaths since 2010. In a memo released Friday, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher directed border agents not to step in front of moving vehicles, nor to use their bodies to block them, in order to open fire at drivers. He also barred shooting at vehicles whose occupants are fleeing from agents.
March 6, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Gil Kerlikowske on Thursday to be the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, allowing the White House "drug czar" to take on his new post overseeing the Border Patrol. Kerlikowske came to the White House as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the job commonly known as “drug czar,” after serving as chief of police in Seattle from 2001 to 2009. He will take over an organization under fire on several fronts, including secrecy surrounding incidents in which agents shot people suspected of throwing rocks at them from the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
March 2, 2014 |
Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide. As The Times' Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a "lack of diligence" in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents' practices, including positioning themselves in the "exit path" of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense.
February 28, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers and watchdog groups called Friday for tougher restrictions on the use of deadly force by U.S. border agents and more transparency in the investigation of killings, including the release of an independent audit that recommended reforms in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's "use-of-force" policies. The comments followed a report Thursday by the Tribune Washington Bureau that revealed that a 21-page audit - which the border agency commissioned but has refused to release to the public or Congress - cited examples of border agents unnecessarily stepping in front of fleeing cars to justify firing at passengers, and responding to rock-throwing with firearms.
February 28, 2014 |
Doctors Without Borders has been ordered to cease activities in Myanmar, leaving tens of thousands of patients without medical care, the Nobel Prize-winning aid group said Friday. Doctors Without Borders did not give a reason for the move. But local news reports said the government had taken issue with statements made by the group about sectarian violence in northern Rakhine state and accused it of bias toward the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority. In a statement, Doctors Without Borders said it was “deeply shocked” by the suspension of its operations after 22 years in Myanmar and “extremely concerned about the fate” of patients under its care around the country.
February 28, 2014 |
TUCSON - Spanish-language media - particularly in Mexico - are abuzz following a Tribune Washington Bureau report on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's use of deadly force while patrolling the nation's border with Mexico. The article was based on an independent review of U.S. Border Patrol shootings. The report - conducted by a group of law enforcement experts - criticized agents for “lack of diligence” in theirs investigations, suggesting agents intentionally provoked confrontations by sometimes stepping in the path of cars apparently to justify shootings.
February 27, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border, according to an independent review of 67 cases that resulted in 19 deaths. The report by law enforcement experts criticized the Border Patrol for "lack of diligence" in investigating U.S. agents who had fired their weapons. It also said it was unclear whether the agency "consistently and thoroughly reviews" use-of-deadly-force incidents.
February 26, 2014 |
AMADO, Ariz. - Border-area residents, upset with what they called an increased militarized presence in their community, began an effort Wednesday to monitor Border Patrol actions at a federal immigration checkpoint about 25 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona. Organizers with a humanitarian aid group called People Helping People in the Border Zone have called on the Border Patrol to remove the checkpoint in Amado, a town of about 300 people. Some residents say they have to deal with unnecessary delays, harassment and sometimes abuse at the checkpoint.
February 24, 2014 |
BEIRUT - Israeli warplanes struck targets late Monday near the Lebanese-Syrian border, according to news and official accounts, but there were conflicting reports about whether the areas hit were on Syrian or Lebanese soil. The official Lebanese news agency said Israeli warplanes “launched two raids” in a mountainous area in the vicinity of the Lebanese village of Nabi Sheet. There was no comment from the Israeli government. There was also no official word on possible casualties.
February 21, 2014 |
HARLINGEN, Texas - They come from Central America with slips of paper sewn into their pockets bearing names they are sometimes too young to spell. Parents send them with Bibles, rosaries and small wooden crosses in their backpacks. The flood of undocumented immigrants has slowed compared to five years ago - likely due to tighter border enforcement and the economic downturn in the U.S. - but in its place is a new immigration surge even more confounding: children and teenagers traveling through the rugged border lands into south Texas, lured by the promise of safety.