Border Report: The Border Is Set to Retake the National Debate

USA (VOSD) – The November 2013 death of a 16-year-old after border agents made him drink liquid methamphetamine he was carrying is a black mark on U.S. Customs and Border Protection, says the San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial board. Cruz Marcelino Velázquez Acevedo reportedly told officers Valerie Baird and Adrian Parellon at the San Ysidro crossing into the United States that he had two containers of apple juice; they forced the teenager to drink it instead of testing the substance with kits that are routinely used for people traveling into California. He died later that day.

Despite paying out a $1 million settlement to Velázquez’s family, Customs and Border Protection confirmed it did not discipline the officers involved in the incident.

Now, after video of the incident aired on ABC, legislators are asking the Department of Homeland Security to improve training at border crossings — crucial during a year that the number of border agents may increase dramatically under a bill introduced last week by Senate Republicans.

The bill would also invest $15 billion over four years in border security, authorize the border wall and mandate biometric measurements to track people entering and leaving the United States.

Prototypes of the border wall, originally scheduled to be built in mid-2017, have been delayed by complaints about the bidding process by companies that were not selected. Now, the Trump administration says contracts are unlikely to be awarded until November.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s president denies ever calling Trump to praise his work on the border wall, which the White House originally claimed — then amended.
A monument for those who have died attempting to cross the US-Mexican border .© Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

this article was prepared by Brooke Binkowski for Voice Of San Diego.