US Border Patrol agents are accused of teaching children how to shoot undocumented immigrants, with paintball guns, near San Diego, Calif.
An anonymous source provided pictures of the unusual instruction, notes the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.
“The target is dressed to resemble a migrant and is located within 100 feet from Virginia Avenue where actual persons have been killed by Border Patrol gunfire,” said Pedro Ríos, Chairman of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.
“While encouraging children to use guns to shoot at a migrant effigy is unconscionable, it is also symbolic of the agency’s unabashed culture of violence which has grown from a lack of accountability, oversight and unprofessional standards that rebuke best practices in situations involving use-of-force," added Ríos.
However, the US Border Patrol denied these accusations in a statement to CBS 8:
Media reports that the U.S. Border Patrol provides training on how to "attack migrants" are patently false. The photos published as part of these allegations were from a local event meant to bring members of the community together to build relationships and increase awareness about law enforcement.
The US Border Patrol says the kids were allowed to use pepper ball equipment, which fired rounds filled with baby powder that would show up on targets.
The US Border Patrol also stated:
The target is a standard practice target used by law enforcement and even amateurs throughout the U.S., and is clothed in plain jeans and a T-shirt, also standard when conducting exercises/demonstrations.
"I say the images speak for themselves, the image is of a human being with a shirt and a pair of jeans with holes in them... as if they were bullet wounds," Andrea Guerrero, of Alliance San Diego, a local social justice organization, told CBS 8.
"Humane treatment of migrants is an ongoing concern and we see them here essentially showing children engaged in what appears to be a game of shooting at migrants," added Guerrero. "Why not use a target? Why not use an outline, a silhouette like police do? Why dress somebody up as if to look like a migrant?"