'Immigration killed her': Guatemalan woman shot dead by US Border Patrol

  26 May 2018    Read: 1213

A Guatemalan woman shot dead by a border patrol agent in Texas has been named as Claudia Patricia Gómez Gonzáles by local media outlets which reported that she travelled to the US in the hope of finding work to pay for her education.

Gómez, a 20-year-old Maya-Mam indigenous woman, died on Wednesday after she was shot in the head by an agent in the border town Rio Bravo,Texas.

Gómez left her home in the rural village San Juan Ostuncalco in the western region of Quetzaltenango earlier this month and travelled to the US to find work to pay for further education, according to an interview with her mother broadcast on a local TV channel.

“She told me she wanted to keep studying at university but we don’t have the money … We’re poor and there are no jobs here, that’s why she travelled to the US – but they killed her. Immigration killed her,” said Lidia Gonzalez. “She didn’t do anything wrong.”

Speaking through her tears, she said: “I just want them to send me her body, I don’t know why immigration killed my child.”

Details about the shooting remain unclear. According to US Border Patrol the agent fired his weapon at least once after a group of people he suspected of being undocumented resisted arrest and attacked “using blunt objects”.

The agent, a 15-year Border Patrol veteran, was responding to a report of illegal activity just after midday on 22 May.

In showing the aftermath of the incident which was posted on Facebook, a woman can be heard shouting at an agent: “Why are you mistreating them? Why are you mistreating them? Why did you (shoot) at the girl? You killed her. He killed the girl. She’s laying there and she’s dead.”

In the video, an agent is seen leading away a small group of men. Border Patrol said agents detained three undocumented immigrants who had tried to flee the scene.

Authorities later confirmed that the three men are Guatemalan nationals. The Guatemala consulate from nearby Del Rio has travelled to the scene.

The FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting. The agent has been placed on administrative leave in accordance with Border Patrol policy.

Gonzalez graduated as a forensic accountant in 2016 but dreamed of studying further, according to her father, Gilberto Gómez.

In a separate interview the deceased’s aunt Dominga Vicente called on US authorities to show discipline and stop treating immigrants “like animals”.


Hundreds of thousands of people from rural villages in Guatemala have been forced to risk the perilous journey north thanks to intense poverty in the region.

In 2017, 65,871 Guatemalans were apprehended at the southern US border.

The Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has called for border agents were obliged to wear body cameras.

“While we do not yet have all the facts in this case, Border Patrol’s history of violence against immigrants requires us to scrutinize every incident involving lethal force closely,” Astrid Dominguez, director of the group’s Border Rights Center, told CNN.

 


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