On Monday, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ronald Anthony Burgos Aviles called 911 to report two dead bodies at a park located close to the Rio Grande and the U.S.-Mexico border.
CREDIT: Google Maps
The bodies were identified as 27-year-old Grizelda Hernandez and her 1-year-old son Dominick Alexander Hernandez.
According to LMTonline, Laredo Police Department Investigator Joe E. Baeza said that they suspected foul play because both bodies showed signs of visible injuries. Authorities did not give specifics on how the two were killed but they were treating it as a double homicide.
One hour after the 911 call was made, police suspected Burgos Aviles was involved in the double homicide.
Authorities in Texas say a Border Patrol agent killed a woman her 1-year-old child Monday at a park near the Mexico border. A Laredo police spokesman says the agent and the woman were in a romantic relationship. https://t.co/zVcPx1d2Zo
Police also indicated that Roland and the woman found may have been involved romantically.
“The victims had visible signs of violence, which is now part of the official investigation,” Laredo Police Department Chief Claudio Treviño Jr. said Tuesday, according to the Express-News. “Due to the sensitivity of the case and the magnitude of the ongoing investigation, we’re not going to state the exact nature of the matter of death at this time.”
Burgos Aviles, a supervising border patrol agent who’s been on the job for nine years, is now facing two counts of capital murder in Texas.
Burgos Aviles was a nine-year veteran of the Border Patrol, Baeza said, and had been promoted last year.https://t.co/jXqx8F7BdX
“The actions of this individual, if true, are both inexcusable and reprehensible,” Jason Owens, Border Patrol chief for the agency in Laredo said, according to the New York Daily News. “No one is more sickened than we are at the thought of someone wearing this uniform committing such a heinous act.”
This story is developing and mitú will continue to update you as the story evolves.
Donald Trump ran on a campaign pledge to severely limit the rights of migrants and refugees attempting to reach the United States. In office, he wasted no time restricting authorized and unauthorized immigration, with travel bans for citizens of a number of Muslim-majority nations, cutting the numbers of refugees the U.S. accepts, and pushing ahead with plans to build a wall on the southern border.
Now amid a global health pandemic, the president is looking to scapegoat migrant and refugee communities by banning all applications for immigration to the U.S. The move is largely seen as symbolic, however, since the U.S. has already largely stopped processing immigration applications due to reduced capacity.
The White House on Monday announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order to temporarily ban all immigration to the U.S.
President Trump tweeted on Monday that he will pass an executive order to suspend immigration to the United States, claiming that he is seeking to protect jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Democrats were quick to criticize it as a “dumb move” and pointed to testing as a safe way to reopen the economy. Not to mention that the U.S. is already home to the largest number of cases around the globe.
Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
Obviously, since he made the major announcement over Twitter, there is very little clarity over what immigration programs might be impacted. And the White House still hasn’t offered any guidance on what Trump meant by the tweet.
Trump has taken credit for his restrictions on travel to the U.S. from China and hard-hit European countries, arguing it contributed to slowing the spread of the virus in the U.S. But he has yet to extend those restrictions to other nations now experiencing virus outbreaks.
Although the announcement has left many in shock, the U.S. was already severely limiting immigration due to the pandemic.
Already, much of the immigration flow into the country has been paused during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government has temporarily stopped processing all non-worker visas. And, the executive order in its current form will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment.
The administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and has paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures.
But given the usual chaotic roll out of Trump Administration directives, we still don’t know how long this suspension will last nor what will happen with the applicants already being processed.
Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Reuters: “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”
And it seems the fact that the U.S. already has the largest number of cases on Earth is completely lost on the president.
As of early April, the United States is now home to the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the planet. There are more than 800,000 cases confirmed by testing and more than 44,000 deaths associated with the virus. In fact, the U.S. now makes up for nearly a third of all Covid-19 infections and a quarter of all deaths.
If Trump wants to make an impact and help flatten the curve in the United States, he should stop promoting the anti-lockdown protests instead of scapegoating immigrant and refugee communities.
Democrats and migrant right’s groups quickly slammed the president’s proposal as xenophobic and counter-productive.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also a former 2020 presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s tweet as well, saying the move was “shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”
“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she wrote. “His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said in response, “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.” Now that’s a pretty legit clapback.
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Unfortunately, there have been no shortage of stories detailing the cruelty experienced by migrants at the hands of Border Patrol officers. But this one in particular has struck a chord with people.
In February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it had safely helped an asylum-seeker give birth while in custody. But the woman herself has now come forward and thrown that narrative into doubt.
Border Patrol agents in California are now under investigation for alleged abusive treatment of a pregnant woman in their custody.
The complaint filed Wednesday details how a Guatemalan woman gave birth at the Chula Vista Border Patrol station near San Diego, standing up, holding onto a trash can while still wearing her pants. She had pleaded with Border Patrol agents for help, but they reportedly told her to sit down and wait to be processed.
She had been detained with her husband and two young daughters in February as they hoped to apply for asylum in the U.S.
The mother, who delivered her baby while still wearing her pants, asked agents for help repeatedly and mentioned she was in pain.
They were in the midst of being processed by agents when after about 30 minutes, her husband could hear the baby crying through the fabric of her pants.
According to the complaint, which was filed by the ACLU and Jewish Family Service of San Diego, the woman, whom lawyers call Anna, gave birth while wearing her pants, and holding onto a garbage can, even after she complained of womb pain on the trip to the Border Patrol station.
The complaint states that her husband, who was arrested along with their two other children while crossing the border, helped pull down her pants to reveal his partially-born daughter. The baby was then birthed in the cell, in full sight of other detainees and Border Patrol employees.
The woman and her newborn were later taken to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center where they were discharged and returned to the station for the night, during which the newborn was not given a sufficient blanket, the complaint claims, adding that Ana was only allowed to shower when she was released to the Jewish Family Service Migrant Family Shelter three days after giving birth.
Yup – Border Patrol agents let a woman endure a painful labor and risked the life of a baby by ignoring her request for help.
Later, at a family shelter run by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, the new mother was interviewed about her alleged mistreatment. After hearing her story, the shelter contacted the American Civil Liberties Union and together, both agencies filed the complaint on the mother’s behalf.
The family is now safe and healthy and reunited with family members in another part of the US, Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.
Originally, the Border Patrol had released a statement praising their officers for helping a woman deliver a baby – that now looks like it wasn’t entirely true.
The Border Patrol, in a statement published Feb. 19, said the woman “did not appear to be in distress and did not request any medical attention” when she was first apprehended. It went on to say that staff “prepared an area for the mother to give birth” at the Chula Vista station.
Alongside the complaint filed by the ACLU, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal is writing a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari also demanding an investigation.
The letter is signed by 12 other members of Congress, including Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar, and it seconds the ACLU’s demand for an investigation into the woman’s specific incident, as well as several similar instances of the mistreatment of pregnant people in immigration custody, and an overhaul of DHS policies on the detainment of pregnant people.
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