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Immigrant Advocates Question Use Of Force

Audio

Aired 9/24/09

Immigrants right's activists question why federal agents' opened fire at three vans at the San Ysidro border crossing earlier this Tuesday. The vans were loaded with illegal immigrants and tried to run the border.

Immigrant rights activists question why federal agents opened fire at three vans at the San Ysidro border crossing earlier this week. The vans were loaded with illegal immigrants when they tried to run the border.

Federal agents in San Diego shot at suspected human smugglers twice in the last week.

Tuesday afternoon, three agents fired at three vans that tried to run through the San Ysidro border crossing. The vans turned out to be carrying more than 70 illegal immigrants, including women and children.

Seven days earlier, a Border Patrol agent shot an alleged smuggler near Smuggler's Gulch.

In both cases, federal agents say they fired because they were afraid they would be run over.

Adriana Jasso, who is with American Friends Service Committee, said agents can use other methods to stop people besides guns. "To us, using bullets to stop people, it is a level of excessive force."

Four people, including one U.S. citizen, are in custody and being charged with human smuggling in connection with Tuesday's incident.

Law enforcement officials say they did not find weapons in any of the vans.

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