Promise of Reforms by CBP Commissioner Ring Hollow

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Top-Officials Perpetuate Culture of Impunity and Violence Inside Nation's Largest Law-Enforcement Agency

Southern Border Region:  The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) strongly condemns the lack of willingness from leadership at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hold Border Patrol agents that were involved in 67 lethal use-of-force incidents from 2010 to 2012, accountable for their actions. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) audit, released in 2013, concluded that CBP officers and agents the used of deadly force in these incidents where it may not be not justifiable and that many incidents were not thoroughly investigated.

CBP has a long documented history of violence and abuse, due largely to the complete absence of meaningful with no commensurate accountability and oversight mechanism measures.  Its failure to establish an institutional culture of accountability and implement police best practices has far-reaching consequences for the quality of life of those who live and work in the Southern and Northern Border regions.

Christian Ramirez, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition, stated:

The outrageous decision from Commissioner Kerlikowske not to discipline agents who engaged in excessive use-of-force underscores that the shameful culture of impunity and violence that plagues the nation’s largest law-enforcement agency is still in place. The deplorable announcement has a chilling effect for Southern Border communities. The Obama Administration must take immediate and urgent steps to implement oversight and accountability measures inside an agency that for far too long has been allowed to operate with disregard for the Constitution and human dignity. 

Pedro Rios, Director, American Friends Service Committee San Diego, stated:

It is reprehensible that that CBP will not take action against border agents involved in unjustifiable deadly-force cases. This is on the verge of state-sanctioned killings, and absent any real transparent oversight in on these deadly incidents, we can conclude that CBP is evading responsibility and refusing to hold its agents accountable when excessive or unwarranted deadly force is used.

Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director, ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, stated:

 The agency’s promises of transparency and accountability ring hollow when they appear to rubber stamp approval for the potentially lethal actions of their agents. To date, we know nothing about what these cases were, where they happened, and whether or not the families of the victims have been properly informed. CBP can’t turn the page on a decade of abuse and ignore the suffering of these families. Our country cannot allow the nation’s largest police force to abuse, brutalize and kill individuals without consequences from the agency, Department of Justice, or courts. 

 Astrid Dominguez, Advocacy Coordinator, ACLU of Texas stated:

The Commissioner's disappointing decision to take no action in any of the 14 cases his own investigators red-flagged calls into serious question whether CBP is committed to bringing justice to the families victimized by Border Patrol violence and to creating a more transparent and accountable agency.

The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together community organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.

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