The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems

Jenny Rowland-Shea & Sahir Doshi
Date of Publication: 
October, 2020
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

The United States Border Patrol, despite its long history of human rights violations and opaque operations, is a well-funded, powerful law enforcement agency with weak internal disciplinary mechanisms and little external oversight. “The Legacy of Racism within the U.S. Border Patrol,” published by the American Immigration Council, examines the history of racism in U.S. immigration policy and its impact on the institutions responsible for implementing this policy. According to the authors, the Border Patrol has become immensely powerful since it was founded about a century ago yet a culture of racism pervades the agency. The report surveys U.S. immigration policies from the late 1880s to the present day, which, at different points in U.S. history, systematically kept out and expelled Asian, Eastern European and later Mexican immigrants deemed “racially inferior” and “undesirable,” and the ways in which these policies influence modern-day policing by the Border Patrol. The authors argue that this history of racist exclusion is at the foundation of the agency’s mission as well as its law enforcement procedures, which are marked by a culture of racism, brutality and abuse directed against immigrants of color. The authors find that the Border Patrol perpetrates violence against immigrants of color through both direct means such as sexual assault, excessive force and verbal abuse, and indirect means like medical neglect, family separation and inhume conditions for those held in custody, often with no consequences. The authors highlight the importance of changing not only the laws surrounding immigration, but also the approach taken by Border Patrol agents in their encounters with prospective immigrants at the border, emphasizing the need for the Biden administration to institute transparency and accountability in the agency’s enforcement practices. (Sonali Ravi for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Rowland-Shea, J. & Doshi, S. (2021, February 1). The Extremist Campaign to Blame Immigrants for U.S. Environmental Problems. Center for American Progress.