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Indybay Feature

Letter to Editor

by Cara Jennings
The following letter was sent to Imperial Valley news and San Diego Union Tribune as a response to Border Patrol aggression.
As an elected City Commissioner in the State of Florida, I attended the No Borders Camp in Calexico California last week to learn more about the issues facing border communities and to see for myself the point of entry for many immigrants who eventually make their way to my city - Lake Worth, Florida. Upon arriving at camp I was invited to meet with U.S. Border Patrol District Commander Mr. Villareal who assured us that he supported our constitutional rights, had no interest in attacking the campers and would maintain open dialogue to ensure the safety of both the campers and border patrol agents. For five days we camped without incident under the watchful eye of the border patrol; campers on both sides of the border wall held workshops and cultural events focused on the impacts of immigration.

After a week of camping along the border wall, I was shocked by the actions of the Border Patrol on November 11 when they violenty attacked demonstraters holding a peaceful protest near the U.S. port of entry. I personally witnessed border agents beat, tackle and shoot pepper spray bullets at demonstrators who were following the directives of the agents to move back. As we tried to calmly disperse, the man walking next to me was shot multiple times in the chest by an agent standing only 10 feet away. A young man also trying to disperse along the sidewalk had his head bashed into the concrete wall, he fell to the ground in pain. While being forcefully detained, batons and guns pointed towards me, pepper spray burning my eyes, I reflected upon my conversation with Mr. Villareal and wondered what happened to his end of our agreement and our shared to desire to protect civil liberties.

Is this the mission of the border patrol; to brutalize any person who disagrees with the federal governments outdated, in-humane immigration policies? If this is the way Border Patrol agents treat law abiding U.S. Citizens, what type of violence do they inflict upon undocumented immigrants? Now that I have experienced the cruelty of the Border Patrol I realize the journey from Calexico to Lake Worth has an added danger unknown to many tax payers - the unregulated aggression of border patrol agents.

Cara Jennings
Commissioner District 2
City of Lake Worth
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