Researchers blame Border Patrol for increase in violencePosted: Oct 25, 2010 6:13 PM PDT Updated: Oct 25, 2010 6:13 PM PDT
Reporter: Ileana Diaz
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Researchers find violence at the border is going up and it's not being committed by the usual suspects.
Jeremy slack researches drugs and violence at the border. He interviewed 500 illegal immigrants and what he found is an increase in what he calls physical and emotional violence.
"What constitutes emotional violence?" asked KGUN9 Reporter Ileana Diaz.
"We really want to broaden the definition of violence and not just have it be one person doing something physically to another but there are a lot of symbolic acts and there's a big emotional toll from these symbolic acts such as you know being chained up for a long period of time, being treated like a criminal," said Jeremy Slack, a researcher at the University of Arizona.
Slack holds smugglers, bandits and even border patrol agents responsible for both kinds of violence. We put that to question and asked slack whether he thinks pointing the finger at agents is justified.
"For me it is, I think all of our official figures, all authorities should treat everyone with respect and I'm not saying there's never a time or place for it but we should hold authorities to another level," said slack.
Slack says illegal immigrants are victims of racial name-calling, cursing and 30 percent of them experience physical abuse from agents. Border Patrol agents didn't disclose whether they have any reported abuse cases but did send us this statement:
"We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty. In fact, we have put in place extensive measures to proactively prevent misconduct by employing a rigorous vetting process and conducting thorough background investigations on those we hire."
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