August 29, 2019

2nd Border Patrol agent convicted of abusing immigrant

The agent was convicted of punching an immigrant who was in custody.

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Another Border Patrol agent has been convicted of abusing an immigrant along the Southwest border. It comes after a separate case, in which an Arizona-based agent accepted a plea deal earlier this month.

Agent Jason McGilvray had an immigrant in custody who’d illegally crossed the border into California. He was found guilty of punching the migrant in the face. For his crime, McGilvray agreed to resign from the Border Patrol and received a year’s probation. His case followed that of an Arizona-based agent who ran a fleeing immigrant over with his truck and then bragged about it. That now former agent, Matthew Bowen, avoided a felony trial when he accepted a misdemeanor plea deal.

Jeremy Slack is a visiting professor at University of Texas El Paso and an author who’s studied law enforcement discipline. The fact the agents were charged is an improvement over previous cases, he said.

"That seriously has not been the case with Border Patrol," Slack said. "They’re very closed, and it’s limited action taken by supervisors and people at the top trying to make sure they stay on mission," Slack said.

Acting Sector Chief Ryan Scudder’s statement about the case read that the agency is satisfied to see the "criminal justice system move quickly to bring this case to a conclusion."

Bowen will be sentenced this fall.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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