If Confirmed to Lead CBP, McAleenan Must Implement Urgent Reforms

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is notorious for its violence and corruption

WASHINGTON DC / SOUTHERN BORDER -- Today, the U.S. Senate voted 79 in favor and 19 against to consider the appointment of Kevin McAleenan as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner, with a final vote scheduled for Monday.

If confirmed to lead the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) expects Mr. McAleenan, who has served as interim CBP commissioner, to quickly implement urgent reforms to address the agency’s notorious culture of violence and corruption.

CBP has the highest number of corrupt agents when compared with all other federal law enforcement agencies. Agents and officers have raped, beaten and killed immigrants and citizens alike. They have committed forgery and theft, smuggled people and narcotics, and taken bribes, undermining the trust given to them to carry a gun and a badge.  

Since 2014, McAleenan and other agency leaders have failed to fully implement recommendations made by the Homeland Security Advisory Council as well as the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel that would require the agency to be more transparent and accountable.

Vicki B. Gaubeca, Interim Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Unless McAleenan changes the agency’s priorities, corrupt CBP agents and officers will continue to get away with their crimes. Much to the disappointment and frustration of border communities, investigations into CBP crimes and corruption tend to go nowhere. This endangers our national security and undermines public trust in law enforcement in general, making everybody less safe.

Though McAleenan has attempted to implement some of the recommendations of the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, such as gathering and posting statistics on CBP use of force, much more needs to be done.

Among the reforms that McAleenan must prioritize are:

  • Updating the use-of-force handbook to incorporate the full recommendations of the Police Executive Research Forum and the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, including clear direction that human lives are paramount, that de-escalation should be the first course of action, and that shooting at fleeing vehicles is prohibited;
  • Implementing strong guidelines that prohibit racial profiling, along with data gathering and public reporting on stop and arrest data so the American public can know who CBP is stopping and why;
  • Requiring agents to wear body-worn cameras, with a policy that adopts best practices regarding data storage and  privacy protections;
  • Fully staffing the Office of Professional Responsibility to a level such that internal investigators are proportional to the force they are charged with overseeing; and
  • Establishing additional oversight measures that hold abusive agents accountable for violations of policy and law”


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About Southern Border Communities Coalition

The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together 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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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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