Each year, more than 25,000 undocumented immigrants are apprehended as they attempt to cross the border from Mexico to the United States. In most cases, we hear very few details about these apprehensions. But in one case, the details — which are especially gruesome — have become widely circulated. This is thanks to some newly-released eyewitness videos that were broadcast last Friday on PBS’ "Need to Know."
At the center of the story is a man named Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. The eyewitness videos show him surrounded by over a dozen border patrol agents. The agents taser him, beat him, kick him, and at one point remove his pants — all while he appears to be handcuffed. Shortly after the beating, Hernandez-Rojas died. And while Hernandez-Rojas’s experience is extreme, it’s not entirely unique. His is one of eight known deaths of undocumented immigrants at the hands of the border patrol in less than two years.
John Carlos Frey is an investigative journalist for the Nation Institute who helped bring this story to PBS and the world. And Ashley Young is one of the people who witnessed and videotaped Rojas being beaten and tasered by the border patrol.
The Takeaway reached out multiple times to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a comment on this story. We did not hear back.
The Takeaway also reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in San Diego. They gave us this statement:
"CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission. CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty."