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Border Patrol detained activist who was filming

Union Tribune (2008-08-07) Leslie Berenstein

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Media Link: http://cfx.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080807/news_1m7hold.html
More Info: Border Security

Agents thought he paid man to cross

By Leslie Berestein
STAFF WRITER

August 7, 2008

SOUTH COUNTY – A local civil rights advocate who often files compliants on behalf of immigrants had his own run-in with the Border Patrol this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee, a human rights group affiliated with the Quakers, was detained while filming at Border Field State Park and held for several hours.

Ramirez said he went to the park to shoot video, as staff members from the organization often do, upon receiving a tip that bulldozers were beginning work on a border fence.

Ramirez said he was standing by the 19th-century border monument while agents arrested a man who slipped between the fence pilings on the beach about 200 yards away.

“Afterward, one (agent) in a motorcycle rushed toward me and asked me how much I had paid to have this man cross,” he said. “They said I was being detained for suspicion of aiding and abetting and for criminal smuggling.”

Border Patrol spokesman Alejandro Renteria said agents became suspicious after they saw a large number of people gathered on the other side of the fence, with two people on that side also filming. He said that the man was looking at Ramirez as he tried to cross, and that Ramirez was seen nodding.

Renteria said the man initially told agents that he had been given some sort of incentive to cross by Ramirez “if he came into the U.S. and allowed them to film him.”

The man later changed his story, Renteria said, and agents decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Ramirez.

Ramirez, whose organization plans to file a complaint this week with the Department of Homeland Security, said he did not know the man and did not have any contact with him.

“It would go against my personal principles, and organization I work for's principles, to suggest this to someone, much less entice them with some sort of monetary reward,” he said.

Ramirez believes he was being intimidated for his work on behalf of the American Friends Services Committee.
Leslie Berestein: (619) 542-4579; leslie.berestein@uniontrib.com

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Title Border Patrol detained activist who was filming
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Leslie Berenstein
Pub Date 2008-08-07
Media Link http://cfx.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080807/news_1m7hold.html
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Keywords Border Security
Media Type Linked Article
Curator Rating Plain
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Author Name Sortable
Topic revision: r1 - 2008-08-08, RaymondLutz
 

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