Local immigrants rights groups say report on force used by federal border agents is incomplete
Last Updated: 78 days ago
SAN DIEGO - San Diego-area immigrant rights groups said Thursday a new report about force used by federal border agents in the United States is incomplete.
The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General released a report Tuesday called "U.S. Customs and Border Protection Use of Force Training and Actions to Address Use of Force Incidents."
Andrea Guerrero, who is with Alliance San Diego, said in a news release, "While the report answers some questions, it doesn't give us specifics on what steps are taken when agents are alleged to use excessive force and, given [the] rash of incidents, what reforms or investigations are being undertaken. Where is the accountability and oversight of agents?"
Guerrero told 10News, "We were disappointed."
She said the report did not shed enough light on how border agents are trained.
"It reveals that training is insufficient on the use of force," she said. "It reveals that there's no tracking of excessive force."
Guerrero said the report surveyed 2,000 arrests by border agents. Excessive force may have been used in almost two-thirds of those cases.
"Two-thirds … that's over one-thousand. We've only been tracking 20," she said, which included the fatal shooting of Monique Tachiquin in Chula Vista.
Sixteen member of Congress requested the OIG report. The Southern Border Communities Coalition said since 2010, federal border agents have been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 people.
The report said the Office of Inspector General could not account for a tally of excessive force allegations against border agents, which includes CBP and the U.S. Border Patrol, because the agency's databases do not allow them to be categorized that way.
Guerrero said the biggest problem found in the report is the revelation that Homeland Security has no way to track reports of excessive force and there is no procedure for disciplining agents.
"How are we expected to trust the agency if the agency is not holding its own accountable, it’s not training their agents?" she questioned.
CBP spokeswoman Jenny Burke sent 10News a statement that said the border protection agency is taking the report seriously:
"CBP is committed to ensuring that the use of force by our agents and officers, who put their lives on the line every day, is appropriate and consistent with applicable laws, agency standards and procedures. CBP concurred with all the recommendations issued by the Office of Inspector General and nearly all of the recommendations provided by the Police Executive Research Forum, a third-party which CBP commissioned to conduct an independent review of its use of force policies. In addition to these reports, CBP conducted its own internal review of its use of force policies.
Based on the recommendations of the three reports, CBP has begun making enhancements to its use of force program and practices, including our policies, training, and review processes. CBP will continue to evaluate the use of force program and practices to ensure the safety of our law enforcement personnel and the public with whom we interact."
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