Border Patrol agents are under fire after a car chase on Sunday led to a crash that killed five undocumented immigrants and left at least 12 others injured.
As KATU reported, the accident took place just outside of Big Wells, Texas, after Border Patrol agents chased a car with 14 people inside at speeds of 100 miles per hour. The SUV crashed, ejecting 12 of the people inside the car as it rolled over.
Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd defended the chase, saying it was “good police work” that started the chase. Afterward, he cited the incident as a reason a wall needs to be built between the United States and Mexico.
But the incident led to widespread criticism, with many commenters wondering why Border Patrol agents purposely pursued the car at such dangerous speeds, especially knowing that the passengers inside could not be safely seated. Others criticized Boyd for appearing to take such a callous approach after five people were killed and others left with serious injuries.
The incident comes at a time when Border Patrol was already under attack. It occurred just days after a video was released showing a Border Patrol agent hitting a Native American man with his car and then driving away. As the New York Times reported, the incident happened on the Tohono O’odham Nation land near the Mexican border in Arizona, leading to tensions between federal authorities and the Native Americans living there.
The Tohono O’odham Nation said footage of the man being struck was “disturbing,” and the man who witnessed the hit-and-run said the Border Patrol agent was aware that he struck the man but chose not to stop to see if he was all right.
“I ran into the dirt road in front of my house, because I know they’ll try and hit me,” Paolo Rhemes, the man who recorded the event, told the Arizona Daily Star. “I think he saw me on the landline and didn’t think I was recording.”
The victim, who did not suffer life-threatening injuries, said the agent did not stop after striking him, only turned on his sirens and drove away.
Border Patrol again came under attack on Sunday after the car chase that left five undocumented immigrants dead, with many calling for greater oversight on the law enforcement agency.
The Border Patrol has also come under attack amid Donald Trump’s newly instituted policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, even if they are entering the United States legally seeking asylum.