In desert camouflage and combat helmets, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents kneel behind a white truck. One agent has his pistol aimed at an unseen enemy. Another has a semi-automatic assault rifle. In the distance stretches the brown desert landscape, the mountains, the expansive sky.
At first glance, the agents are alert and ready as if in combat theater in the Middle-East. At the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and in the context of the persistent 30-year push of Mexico-U.S. border militarization, maybe this isn’t so far off. This CBP special response team—that in its training unleashes “torrents of fire”—is part of the United States’ largest federal law enforcement agency. With more than 60,000 agents, the Department of Homeland Security’s CBP has become a daunting domestic army.
The U.S. government often portrays CBP agents—especially the “men in green” of the Border Patrol—as professional warriors who “protect,” as former CBP chief David Aguilar puts it, “our way of life.” These agents are on the front lines fending off enemies of many shades, faces, and ideologies who are supposedly eager to penetrate the U.S. international boundary with malicious intentions. However, a Los Angeles Times article, which discusses an independent review by law enforcement experts on the U.S. Border Patrol’s use of deadly force, shows an entirely different reality.
Read the rest here at NACLA.