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Former US border agent sentenced for violating civil rights of illegal aliens

[JURIST] Judge Nancy Atlas of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] sentenced former US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) [official website] agent Santiago Perez to one year and one day in prison for civil rights violations Wednesday. Perez pleaded guilty in August to assaulting two men during separate incidents in 2006 and 2007. The charges stemmed from an investigation led by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Professional Responsibility [official website] into Perez’s use of excessive force against two undocumented illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive] in his custody. Perez admitted to striking a Guatemalan man with a pistol in 2006 and to assaulting, battering, and threatening to kill a Mexican man in 2007 after driving him to a remote South Texas ranch. In a statement [press release], US Attorney Donald DeGabrielle [official profile] said that Perez would remain under supervision for three years at the conclusion of his prison sentence. The Houston Chronicle has more.

In July, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] several charges against two other US border patrol agents found guilty of shooting of an illegal immigrant [JURIST report]. The controversial decision received national attention after members of Congress called upon President George W. Bush to pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean [advocacy website]. Many local residents fear that the prosecution of Border Patrol agents limits their ability to do their job properly.

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