- REUTERS/Earnie Grafton
- US Border Patrol agents tried to leave an injured man, whose nationality they did not know, across the Mexican border, a new video published by NBC News shows.
- A US agent can be heard telling Mexican officials, “I think he’s Mexican” and “he looks like it.”
- The Customs and Border Protection agency said the agents’ actions “were not consistent with our normal procedures.”
US Border Patrol agents walked a handcuffed, injured, and unidentified man across the border to Mexico and attempted to leave him there because “he looks like” he’s Mexican, a new video published by NBC News on Wednesday shows.
The incident occurred in March of 2017 near the border town of Calexico, California. Mexican officials could be heard in the video explaining to the US agents that they were violating US-Mexico bilateral agreements, and directing them to contact the Mexican consulate to properly repatriate him.
“All of this is through the consulate,” one Mexican official says. “Are you new?”
“No, I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” the US Border Patrol agent replies.
In a later exchange, the US and Mexican officials debated whether the man was truly Mexican, and one of the US agents admitted he wasn’t certain. In the video, you can hear them saying:
Mexican official: He’s repatriated, he’s [inaudible] another place.
US agent: As far as I know, he’s also going back to his. Well, I think he’s Mexican. He’s going back to his country.
Mexican official: Look at that. And you don’t even know if he’s Mexican or not.
US agent: He looks like it.
- NBC News
Eventually, the border patrol agents took the man back to the US and left him in a park, a law-enforcement source told NBC News.
The source said the man was eventually processed for repatriation at a Mexican consulate the following month, where officials found he was indeed a Mexican national and had been arrested 16 times for illegally entering the US.
But the initial attempt at leaving him across the border, without documentation, prompted Mexican officials to alert the US Customs and Border Protection agency, which launched an investigation.
Customs and Border Protection told NBC News that the agents’ behavior captured on film was an “isolated incident,” and that the agents were reprimanded after the investigation, though neither lost their jobs.
“In the video, our actions were not consistent with our normal procedures,” Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David Kim said. “Corrective action was taken to ensure all our agents understand their responsibilities of adhering to established processes, practices, and policies.”
NBC News said it obtained the video from Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, after a whistleblower alerted the network to the footage’s existence.
Watch the full video below: