LAS CRUCES, N.M. —The American Civil Liberties Unions (ACLUs) of New Mexico and Texas sent a letter on Wednesday to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) demanding the agency conduct an independent investigation into a deadly vehicle pursuit by Border Patrol on July 27, 2022.
Two people died and at least nine others were injured in the crash in Santa Teresa, NM, near McNutt and Airport roads on Wednesday at about 4:45 a.m. At least two people were critically injured and taken to University Medical Center of El Paso, according to El Paso Times.
The letter from the ACLUs of New Mexico and Texas called on CBP to not expel any of the victims of the deadly crash under Title 42. The victims should be given the opportunity to seek counsel, provide witness accounts to investigators and pursue any relevant legal protections.
Border Patrol vehicle pursuits have resulted in dozens of fatalities in the last few years. A 2019 ProPublica study examining more than 500 incidents found that one in three Border Patrol vehicle pursuits ended in a crash.
Rebecca Sheff, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of New Mexico, issued the following statement:
“Once again, people in New Mexico have died as a result of dangerous Border Patrol vehicle pursuits. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility needs to conduct a fair and thorough investigation of this incident to make sure the people who died or were injured, as well as their families and the border community, receive the accountability they deserve. It is also imperative that the victims of this tragedy are not expelled from the country so that they are able to participate in the investigation and pursue any legal recourse available to them.”