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Re-trial of Border Patrol Shooter Begins Today

October 21, 2008

Tucson, AZ - A second trial begins today in Tucson for Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett, accused of shooting and killing an undocumented immigrant last year.

Corbett says he shot Francisco Dominguez-Rivera in self-defense. Border Action Network director Jennifer Allen says the tragedy could have been avoided.

"What we hope that this case can highlight is the urgent need for providing better training, better oversight and greater accountability to the Border Patrol."

Border Patrol spokesman Jason Ciliberti counters that agents are trained to the same standards as all federal law enforcement officers. But Allen points to published reports that agent training days have been cut back as the Border Patrol has rapidly expanded in size.

While agreeing that the overall length of training has been reduced, Ciliberti says training content has not changed. He insists that agents are both properly trained and equipped to carry out their duties.

"We continue to train our agents the same way as far as firearms go. We don't cut any training time away from academy training time."

Border Action Network's Allen says for border security to be effective, agent training must go beyond typical police work.

"We need to have border enforcement agencies that are certified not only in weapons use, but in constitutional rights, in human rights."

Agents also need additional training in de-escalating and resolving potentially volatile situations, Allen says.

Congressional testimony regarding Border Patrol training changes is available at homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20070619152331-25429.pdf.

Doug Ramsey/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - AZ