At the request of Congress in 2010, a review U.S. Border Patrol’s (CBP) policy on the use of force by border patrol agents was performed by Department of Homeland Security. The report gave several recommendations as to steps that should be taken in order to balance the safety of agents against the unnecessary use of force along the border.
In October of 2012, CBP performed a comprehensive review of CBP’s use of force policy and execution in conjunction with the DHS review. This review process included an internal review by CBP’s Use of Force Policy Division, and an external, independent review by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a non-profit police research organization that provides management services and technical assistance to support law enforcement agencies.
Subsequent to these audits, CBP announced that they are in compliance with many of the recommendations made by the reports. However, according to an article by Seth Garfinkel, it appears that some of the reforms and compliance may be short-lived.
For example, although the PERF report recommends that CBP stop using deadly force against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles—standards in line with other law enforcement departments—the Chief of the Border Patrol, Michael Fisher, indicated that the agency would not comply with the “very problematic” recommendation.
But while CBP retreats from its commitment to reform its widely-recognized abuse of authority, immigrant-rights groups across the country continue to expose border patrol abuses and reveal the human cost of the agency’s inaction.
As the immigration and border debates continue, it does not look like this topic will be resolved any time soon. In fact, twenty members of Congress just sent a letter to the acting commissioner of CBP requesting a meeting to further discuss their concerns.
Time will tell. For more on this, click here.