Things That Matter

These Families Need $5,000 To Witness Supreme Court Hearing Over The Deaths Of Their Children By Border Patrol

On Nov. 12, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments for the case of a Border Patrol agent killing a teenager on Mexican soil. Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca was doing what 15-year-old Mexican boys do. He was playing a game with friends on Mexican soil when he was shot in the head by border guard Jesus Mesa Jr from U.S. soil. This happened on June 7, 2010, and has no legal precedent, which is why it’s taken over nine years for a final decision to be determined. In less than a week, Hernández v. Mesa could decide how seriously U.S. officers treat non-citizens across the border, and if those non-citizens will be granted monetary redress for their loss.

The families bringing the case forward are using a GoFundMe to raise $5,500 to both make it to the hearing, but also participate in speaking engagements to raise awareness around border violence.

The presence of the parents will create significantly more media coverage for the victims of border violence.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

Over the past 15 years, more than 100 people have been killed by US Border Patrol as a direct result of their excessive use of force. Not one agent has ever been held accountable,” the GoFundMe states. “This systematic pattern of injustice guarantees impunity to US state agents for the criminalization and annihilation of people of color, indigenous, refugees and migrants, both inside and outside of the United States.”

The GoFundMe will allow for Guadalupe Güereca (Sergio Adrian’s mom) and Taide Zojo and Araceli Rodríguez (José Antonio’s grandmother and mother respectively) to be transported, housed, and fed in Washington D.C. for the oral arguments. The money will also help pay for the costs associated with their week-long speaking engagement tour on behalf of victims of border violence. Frankly, the budget set out seems conservative. On the GoFundMe, they list an expected $900 to pay for food for 4 people for 9 days. That’s $25 per person per day, a feat for anyone who has lived or visited the Washington area.

The GoFundMe has raised $3,775 in one week, but the case is being heard in just five days.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

It’s not just the Hernández Güereca family that is showing up to demand justice for their child. José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, was shot sixteen times and killed in Nogales, Sonora, by U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on Oct. 10, 2012. The agent shot the teenager from the U.S. side of the border in Nogales, Arizona. “Like Mesa, Swartz has not faced any accountability,” the GoFundme states. Swartz said he shot the 16-year-old sixteen times because he was throwing rocks at Border Patrol officers.

For the record, any non-citizen who is shot on the U.S. border can absolutely seek redress thanks to Bivens v. Six Unknown Unnamed Agents, which allows any person who has been injured by a U.S. law enforcement officer to sue for damages.

An anonymous donor offered to match every donation up to $2,000.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

On Nov. 5, the organizer shared the exciting news that every donation will be matched, thanks to an anonymous donor. “This is an incredible opportunity for people to double the impact of their contribution as we seek justice, accountability, and an end to US-led state violence against our communities,” they write.

With any funds over our $5,500 goal, we will do two things,” the campaign organizer shared, along with the good news. The “extra” money will help “provide financial support to Guadalupe, Araceli, and Taide, who have to miss work in order to travel. Whatever is left over will help “support their next trip to DC, so they can return to the Supreme Court when the verdict is announced in a few months. We need your help! If you have the resources, please donate!”

The families also want you to share the GoFundMe, and use the hashtags #USMurderPatrol #JusticeForSergioAdrian and #JusticeForJoseAntonio to raise awareness.

Credit: Justice for Victims of US Border Patrol / GoFundMe

Sergio Adrián would be 24 years old today. Jose Antonio would be 23 years old. “Peace and healing are not possible without justice,” the organizers write. “Justice is impossible without accountability which includes reparations for the victims, and guarantees of legal recourse for violence committed by U.S. agents and targeted at communities outside of U.S. borders. The victims of U.S.-led and sanctioned state violence are counting on you to end these egregious patterns of violence and the structures that uphold them,” the organizers emphasize.

READ: Their Son Was Killed On Mexican Soil By A Border Patrol Agent And They Want Justice

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Things That Matter

10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Anyone who has watched this video of a 10-year-old boy asking a Border Patrol officer for help through tears, can admit just how heartbreaking it is. The boy says he was left alone while traveling with a group across the border when they abandoned him.

But now his family is speaking out and sharing the backstory to the emotional video that further highlights just how urgently the crisis at the border needs to be addressed.

Video of a 10-year-old boy wandering near the border quickly went viral for how heartbreaking it was.

A heartbreaking video shared last week by Customs and Border Protection of an unnamed 10-year-old boy found wandering alone in Texas underscored how desperate the situation is on the southern border. The video showed a young Nicaraguan boy found on the side of a dirt road by an off-duty Border Patrol agent after wandering alone for four hours in the desert.

People reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage of the incident, which happened on April 1 by a Rio Grande border patrol agent. The boy explains to the officer that he woke up and discovered that his group had left him behind. “I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer. 

In a statement to the publication, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agent “transported the child to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened.”

But now we’re getting a better understanding of what led to this heartbreaking video.

Now, the boy’s family have described his plight to the Washington Post. Little 10-year-old Wilton Obregon and his mom crossed the border into Texas last month but were expelled under Title 42, a policy that releases migrants back to Mexico without letting them seek asylum.

Hours after they were sent back, they were kidnapped, according to Wilton’s Miami-based uncle, Misael Obregon. The kidnappers called him and demanded a $10,000 ransom but Misael could only pay $5,000 so the kidnappers only released Wilton. They dumped Wilton back at the border. Obregon said his sister is still in custody of the kidnappers. “Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” he said.

In fact, the boys mom called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her son crying at the border.

The family’s plight highlights the need for reforms to Title 42.

During the campaign, President Biden complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many were forced to wait in dangerous refugee camps along the border that subjected them to human trafficking, violence, and sexual assault.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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