Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzales, 20

Rio Bravo, Texas
May 25, 2018

Agencies: U.S. Customs and Border Protection - US | U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Cause of death: Shooting


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Last updated: almost 4 years ago

Overview

According to local media, quoting Gonzales' family, t20 year old Claudia Gomez Gonzales was killed while traveling to the US from a small village in Guatemala to find work to pay for her education.

If a witness hadn’t been there that day, there’d be almost no record of what took place May 23 outside her tall frame house in the Texas border hamlet of Rio Bravo when a Border Patrol agent shot and killed a Gonzales moments after she’d crossed the nearby Rio Grande.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the parent agency for the Border Patrol, issued two contradictory statements about the shooting, and the FBI and Texas Rangers, three months later, are still conducting investigations about which virtually nothing official is known — not the name of the agent who fired the fatal shot nor the names of the three undocumented immigrants who were taken into custody as material witnesses. Nor is there a definitive account of what led to the shooting. The case faded quickly from the news, overwhelmed by fury over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and the resulting family separations.

Her death has enraged immigrant rights organisations who say under US President Donald Trump, border agents like the CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are operating with impunity and a lack of accountability in their communities.

"Congress needs to stop this madness. They have the power to put an end to these agencies targeting our communities," Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director of United We Dream, a youth-led immigrant network based in New York, said.

"We have been pointing out what these agencies have been doing but it had to get so bad before people pay attention," Jimenez told Al Jazeera.

Three months after her death questions remain about how she was killed.

Three men who were on the scene when a Border Patrol agent shot Gonzales in May are expected to be deported soon, a representative of their government has told BuzzFeed News.

Legal Action

Two years after her death a civil lawsuit was filed against the United States and a Border Patrol agent by the family of Gonzalez. The family is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and law firm Kirkland and Ellis.

Community and Family Efforts

Obituary

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