June 26, 2022

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“Shadow Units”: How Secretive Border Patrol Teams Shield Agents from Accountability

2 min read

A human rights network of 60 organizations working along the U.S.-Mexico border released a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging them to investigate “shadow police units” that have helped cover up beatings and killings by Border Patrol agents for more than three decades. The shadow units, identified in the letter as “Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams,” are said to possibly be “the largest and longest standing shadow police unit that is operating today in the federal government.” New details came to light when attorneys investigating the 2010 Border Patrol killing of Mexican father Anastasio Hernández Rojas found a secretive special investigative unit tampered with and even destroyed evidence in the case to shield the agents involved. Investigative journalist John Carlos Frey, who reported on the case and helped uncover the shadow groups, says agents “tampered with evidence, they obstructed justice, and they violated the law,” adding that Border Patrol is being permitted to “investigate itself without any oversight.”

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