January 2, 2006

Mexico demands US probe fatal border shooting

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico demanded a U.S.
investigation on Monday into the death of an undocumented
Mexican shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent as he tried to cross
into California last week.

Raul Martinez, a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol in
San Diego, confirmed that an agent had fired on a man on Friday
as he tried to cross the border near San Diego, after the
would-be immigrant had thrown rocks at him.

Mexico's foreign ministry named the dead man as Guillermo
Martinez, 18. A human rights group said Martinez was shot on
U.S. territory and then crossed back into Mexico with chest
injuries and died at a Tijuana hospital the following day.

"The Mexican government is demanding an investigation of
the facts," presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar told a news

The shooting came weeks after a U.S. lawmaker proposed a
controversial plan to fortify part of the U.S.-Mexico border
with a high-tech wall to stop illegal immigrants.

The move was slammed by the Mexican government, which has
long sought an agreement with Washington to formalize the
status of millions of Mexicans living illegally in the United
States and regulate the flow of immigrants heading north.

The shooting "shows once again that only a law that
guarantees organized, legal and respectful entry (to the United
States) can solve the problems posed by migration," Aguilar

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said Martinez,
from the western state of Jalisco, had crossed into California
with three other men, including his brother. It was unclear
where they were headed.

Each year, an unknown number of Mexicans attempt to cross
the deserts and rivers marking the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border
in search of work in the United States.

The U.S. Border Patrol arrested almost 1.2 million
undocumented immigrants making the journey last year, while at
least 464 died en route, many from heat exposure.