As high-profile trials against U.S. Border Patrol agents reach a climax, the Trump administration pushes to hire thousands of new agents with scant oversight. THE THIN GREEN LINE confronts this alarming prospect by critically examining the past, present, and future of the Border Patrol. The Border Patrol has historically refused to hold their own agents accountable for taking the lives of unarmed people like Anastasio Hernández-Rojas, who, after being hogtied, beaten, and tasered by a swarm of U.S. border personnel from CBP and ICE at the San Ysidro border crossing, died in a hospital days later. Or José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, a sixteen-year-old boy who, walking home at night after playing basketball in Nogales, was shot through the border fence 10 times in the back and head by Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz. In every one of these deaths - Sergio, Anastasio, and José – Border Patrol agents and administration took startling measures to obfuscate the facts of what happened.
The future of law enforcement at the U.S. border with Mexico remains precarious and unsettling: President Trump’s executive order to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents, alongside a proposal from Congress to significantly weaken hiring standards at CBP, portend yet another disaster at the agency.