NNIRR and Border Partners Urge Prompt Investigation Into the Shooting of Migrants at the US-Mexico Border

El Paso, TX – The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights condemns the shooting of two migrants that resulted in one death and left another injured at the US-Mexico border.

While it is uncertain how the incident occurred, we know at least one of the suspects was the warden of the West Texas Detention Center, run by the Louisiana-based LaSalle Corrections, a company operating jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers. The facility has been the subject of several allegations of violence against immigrants.

“We are appalled by this shooting and the relentless attacks against those migrating here in search of safety. We condemn violence against migrants and the anti-immigrant discourses that lead to the cruel and inhumane treatment of those seeking protection. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families,” said Alma Maquitico, Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

NNIRR urges local and federal agencies to conduct a prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation into this shooting and further investigate the many other human rights violations committed against migrants at the West Texas Detention Center. In addition, they must provide immediate access to protection and justice for the victims and their families. 

According to NNIRR’s Spotlight report, which launches later this month, “over the last two decades, more than 8,000 migrant lives have perished along the US-Mexico border because of restrictive policies.” This tragic death is emblematic of what happens when our elected officials choose anti-immigrant rhetoric over saving lives of men, women and children in vulnerable situations. 

To help prevent further atrocities, we call on Governor Abbott and the Biden Administration to comply with legally-binding human rights obligations, which establish that governments have the first and primary responsibility to protect. We urge the administration and Congress to stop managing migration through militarization, criminalization, and punishment. Instead, they must pursue multilateral cooperation grounded in human rights, such as those outlined in the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration.

Lastly, NNIRR urges our friends and allies to support the creation of legal channels for safe and regular migration and denounce militarization and criminalization as a way to manage migration flows.