People Are Outraged After Border Agent Kills Unarmed Guatemalan Woman

Lead Photo: Photo by Gerald L. Nino, CBP, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is in the public domain.
Photo by Gerald L. Nino, CBP, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is in the public domain.
Read more

Her name was Claudia Patricia Gómez González. On Wednesday, a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent shot and killed her. Claudia Patricia was an Indigenous woman from San Juan Ostuncalco, Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. In 2016, she graduated and she hoped to work  in accounting. As her friends and family mourn, people are spreading an image of Claudia – dressed in a huipil and corte – on social media platforms to draw attention to the young woman and the injustice that occurred in Rio Bravo, Texas at the hands of a government employee.

On Wednesday, an agent claimed he was responding to a call when undocumented immigrants attacked him with “blunt objects,” CBP said in a news release, according to BuzzFeed News. The agent shot Claudia in the head. However, an eye witness account disputes the agency’s story. Marta Martinez, who lives near where the incident took place, heard at about 12:20 p.m. She began streaming what she saw on Facebook. Martinez, who questioned the Border Patrol, said, “The girl was in the grass and trees; to me, she was hiding. They’re saying they threw rocks at the agents, but the two migrants were scared and the one guy was scared – they didn’t have rocks in their hands.”

As people reflect on how this young woman’s life was cut tragically short, it’s important to turn an eye to the policies that made this possible. Despite CBP being accused of racial profiling and excessive use of force, there’s not a lot of transparency when it comes to the agency. “We don’t know very much about the Border Patrol, except that they are the most lawless, abusive, and unaccountable law enforcement agency in the country—we do know that,” ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall told The Nation.

While it’s true that President Trump has set out to create an increasingly hostile environment for undocumented immigrants, our callous immigration system has long existed. The United States has, over the last few decades, made it harder for people without documentation to enter the country – forcing some to go through the deadly desert to avoid checkpoints. But it seems that whatever path an immigrant chooses into the United States, they’ll face danger, sometimes at the cost of their lives.