Her name was Claudia Gómez, and Border Patrol killed her
A Border Patrol agent killed an undocumented immigrant in Rio Bravo, Texas, and authorities can’t give solid testimony on the facts.
Detention and deportation are no longer the only risks of arriving in the United States undocumented.
Now there is also the possibility that circumstances could get out of hand with immigration agents, resulting in someone mortally wounded.
Last week, after receiving notification of "illegal activities" by a group of undocumented immigrants, Border Patrol in Rio Bravo, Texas, tried to contain the situation by opening fire and injuring an undocumented young woman identified as Claudia Patricia Gómez González, 20, from San Juan Ostuncalco in Guatemala, according to CNN.
In his first report, the director of Rio Bravo Fire & Rescue, Juan C. Gonzalez, said the woman was wounded in the head and lost vital signs at the time his team arrived at the scene.
However, reports from the Border Patrol agency fail to come up with a solid account of the facts. Although at first, they assured that "the agent was attacked by immigrants armed with 'blunt objects'", the federal agency said last Friday that the group "rushed” against the agent after ignoring orders to get on the ground.
Apparently, the allegations of "blunt objects" were dismissed and the reason for the death of the young Gómez remains unexplained. In fact, and as CNN continued, "immigration and customs canceled a press conference and only issued a statement on the matter."
Marta Martinez, a woman who was in the vicinity of the scene, uploaded to her Facebook account a video of the events and told the New York Times that "they were in a corner of that land behind a tree."
“They had no weapons, they were hiding," she said.
Martinez said that when she heard the detonation she went out, without having heard "stop", "don’t run" or any other type of warning from the agents.
She also recalled that, when arresting the other immigrants, an agent told them "See? This is what happens with you people."
Claudia's family described her as "a very hard-working girl" and that her decision to go to the United States came after graduating from high school and not getting to the University of San Carlos.
"She could not find a job and chose to look for the American dream," explained her aunt Dominga Vicente, according to Soy502 (in Spanish).
But her claim went further and Vicente had words for the government of the United States: "She is not the first person to die in that country, they are treating us like animals," she said. "I ask the authorities to discipline or call attention to the United States government. Don’t treat us like animals; just because it is a very powerful and developed country."
— Jessica Gramajo (@JGramajo_Soy502) 25 de mayo de 2018
She also asked "the government to react, to share their development with other countries that are just like Guatemala, where there is no work and difficulties are faced", and demanded both the U.S. government and the Guatemalan economic support pay off the debts that the family must face now.
The death of the girl has angered activist organizations in the country, which say that agencies such as Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "are operating with impunity and a lack of responsibility in their communities," said Al Jazeera.
"Congress has to stop this madness. They have the power to put an end to these agencies targeting our communities," said Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director of United We Dream.
In reaction to the news, an organization that supports immigrant rights, Movimiento Cosecha, wrote on Twitter: "Say her name: Claudia Patricia Gómez González. She was somebody. She mattered. She had people who loved her on both sides of the border. She was murdered by Border Patrol on Wednesday at the Texas border. Rest in power."
Claudia’s murder took place just a week after President Trump called undocumented immigrants "animals," echoing the dangerous process of "dehumanization" to which foreigners are being subjected to in the United States.