Little Oversight At Largest Enforcement Agency–Customs/Border Protection


When President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security in 2001, he vowed that, “By ending duplication and overlap, we will spend less on overhead, and more on protecting America.” It didn't quite work out that way, reports the Texas Observer. DHS’ Customs and Border Protection unit, now the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, was left without its own internal affairs investigators. That task would instead be left to the overall department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), which had 200 investigators for 220,000 employees. The FBI has 250 internal affairs investigators for 13,000 agents.

OIG became known for hoarding cases and leaving them uninvestigated — a black hole of bureaucracy. Meanwhile, the Border Patrol's ranks keep growing. Congress is intent on “more boots on the ground,” but pays little attention to the men and women tasked with keeping border agents accountable. Accounts of corruption have multiplied: In Arizona, an agent was caught on police video loading a bale of marijuana into his patrol vehicle; another agent in Texas was caught waving loads of drugs through the international port of entry for a cartel; and in California, a Border Patrol agent smuggled immigrants across the border for money. Homeland Security officials have no way to gauge how extensive the problem is within its ranks. “The true levels of corruption within CBP are not known,” concluded a Homeland Security advisory panel of law enforcement officials last year.

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