Few Abuse Complaints Against U.S. SW Border Agents Yield Discipline


Data obtained through a public records request by the American Immigration Council, an immigrant advocacy group, show that of 809 abuse complaints against agents within 100 miles of the Southwest border from 2009 to 2012, only 13 led to disciplinary action, and typically that meant counseling, the New York Times reports. “These stark findings exemplify the culture of impunity that prevails at [the Customs and Border Protection agency]” said Melissa Crow of the group's Legal Action Center.

The agency said it is “committed to ensuring that our agency is able to execute its challenging missions while preserving the human rights and dignity of those with whom we come in contact,” said Kevin McAleenan, acting deputy commissioner. The Times says the 44-page list of complaints is among the most comprehensive — and damning — publicly available portraits of alleged border misconduct. It shows that in 40 percent of the cases with internal affairs, no decision had been made or reported, in some cases for more than three years after complaints were filed. And in the other 60 percent where a conclusion had been reached, “no action” was the end result 97 percent of the time. An independent assessment of the agency's most violent cases by the Police Executive Research Forum criticized its “lack of diligence” in investigating agents who fired their weapons.

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