A report on the use of force by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which was initially suppressed, has finally become public. The report makes clear that the border with Mexico can be a dangerous place, both for those policing our borders and those attempting to cross illegally, whether for jobs or nefarious purposes. The Washington Post describes in an editorial an agency that has been “indifferent or hostile to the most basic standards of restraint, transparency and self-policing.”
Hundreds of incidents involving alleged misconduct and the use of deadly force have occurred in the last several years, with more than 150 still under review.
CBP now has new leadership, R. Gil Kerlikowske, who promises to bring needed change to an agency that has doubled in size in the last 10 years. While it is clear that border agents have an often difficult and thankless task, it is also clear that, on occasion, some agents put themselves and others at risk by overreacting. In one section of the report, investigators found that agents sometimes shoot at fleeing vehicles “out of frustration,” rather than to deter a deadly threat. The full report with recommendation can be found here: