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Tension Escalates Along the US-Mexico Border

More On Border Patrol Shootings


Since 2010, the U.S. Border Patrol has killed 17 people. Among those victims, seven were in Mexico at the time of the incident. In each case, the Department of Homeland Security has said the Border Patrol agent was acting in self-defense.

Border Patrol agents say they are coming under increased physical assault. They have had weapons brandished at them and have been assaulted with rocks, usually thrown from the Mexico side of the border. Numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection bear this out:

In 2010, agents in the Tucson Sector reported being assaulted in all manners a total of 421 times. In 2009, it was 261. Agents nationwide reported an increase in the number of rock assaults; in 2010 the number totaled 793. In the previous year, 2009, it was 756.

Check out an investigative series on border patrol shootings: Deadly Patrol

But in nearly every case where the victim was in Mexico, the investigation into the shooting remains open. The families of the victims are still waiting for a resolution, some for years.

Check this site later Thursday for a story looking at some of these older cases and their lack of resolution by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office, and how these long waits have affected the victims' families.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to reflect there were 17 people shot by the U.S. Border Patrol since 2010, and seven of them were in Mexico at the time.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.