Lawyer: Border Patrol Should Be Investigated for Racial Profiling

Andrew Glazer, AP, May 31, 2006

LOS ANGELES—A civil rights lawyer on Wednesday demanded authorities investigate a roundup of hundreds of undocumented immigrants in what he called a desert dragnet based on racial profiling.

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, attorney Luis Carrillo claimed U.S. Border Patrol agents only pulled over people with brown skin in the five-day operation known as “Operation Desert Denial.”

More than 600 undocumented immigrants were detained from May 19 to May 24 along Interstate 40 near Barstow.

No light-skinned people were detained, Carrillo said.

“They gave people with blue eyes and light skin a free pass,” he said.

Carrillo also criticized authorities for focusing efforts far from the border. He said he did not plan to file a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.


At a news conference, Carrillo introduced a child of a woman who was detained and deported. He called the girl “a victim of this harassment.”

Teary-eyed, 12-year-old Wendy Ortiz said she and her two younger brothers were awakened by Border Patrol agents who shone a spotlight into a car being driven by her mother Violeta then bumped it and pulled it over.

The sixth-grader said the family had been traveling overnight to Barstow from their Phoenix home to buy wholesale kitchen supplies.

After determining that Violeta Ortiz was not a legal immigrant, the agents shouted at her and threatened to separate her from the children unless she waived a hearing and signed an order that led to her deportation to Mexico, the girl said.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.