GOP Rushes to Exploit Death of Border Patrol Agent Before Knowing All the Facts

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Elected Republicans, President Donald Trump among them, are rushing to use the death of a Border Patrol officer on Sunday morning to score political points—even though very few details about the incident are known yet.

Thirty-six-year-old Rogelio Martinez and his partner, who has not been identified, were responding to activity along the Big Bend Sector, which runs along the U.S.-Mexico border, when Martinez’s partner called for help, saying they’d both been injured. Both officers were rushed to the hospital, where Martinez, a four-year veteran of the force, died. His partner remains in serious condition, local news station KFOX reported.

Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed Martinez’s death in the line of duty but not much else, including what kind of activity the officers were responding to. The FBI is now trying to figure out whether the officers were assaulted, according to CNN.

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, was quick to characterize the incident as an “attack” in a Sunday night tweet.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz also called the incident an “attack” without citing a source in a statement.


“This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them,” the Republican said.

Trump also tweeted on Sunday evening about the officer’s death, using the tragedy as an occasion to talk about how we must “build the Wall!”


In speaking to The New York Times about the ongoing investigation, a spokeswoman for the agency would only say the matter is “very active, fast-moving investigation” and that officers “are still working hard putting the facts together.”


Since 2003, Border Patrol reports 38 agents who have been killed on the job. Some were attacked while working along the border, but others died from things like traffic accidents.

So based on what we know, maybe it’s a little early to start using Martinez’s death to score points in the debate around the immigration crackdown.



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