Incoming Chief Mark Morgan urged to bring transparency and accountability reforms during key oversight committee hearing
Washington D.C. – Unaccountable, highly intrusive Border Patrol interior checkpoints have infringed on the quality of life of border residents, resulting in unchecked cases of excessive force, racial profiling and widespread civil and human liberties abuses -- all at a high cost, but with questionable effectiveness.
That’s the message by Southern Border Communities Communities Coalition’s director, Christian Ramírez, during a Homeland Security hearing titled “Moving the Line of Scrimmage: Re-examining the Defense in Depth Strategy.” The hearing by the House Homeland Security Committee's Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee focuses on U.S. Border Patrol's role at interior checkpoints along the country’s border communities, and will be Mark Morgan's first appearance before a congressional committee as the incoming Chief of the Border Patrol.
“For border residents, the land of the free that most enjoy has been converted into the land of checkpoints. In no other part of this nation are people required to prove who they are as they go about their daily lives, going to work or shopping. Imagine if these checkpoints existed inside the Beltway.”
[To read the oral testimony, click here]
[To see video of the testimony, click here]
[To read SBCC and ACLU joint statement, click here]
Ramirez’ testimony brings to light community experiences that have become all-too-common among the 12 million residents within 100 miles of the border who are subjected to Border Patrol checkpoints and roving patrols on a daily basis. During the hearing, he urged Congress to:
- Roll back the antiquated 100-mile zone for checkpoints and roving patrols.
- Reduce the area where agents can enter private property without a warrant to 10 miles.
- Implement robust oversight mechanisms, including comprehensive data collection and public reporting on Border Patrol’s roving patrol and checkpoint activities.
- Ban racial and religious profiling.
Border communities have urged Commissioner Kerlikowske to hold CBP, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, to the highest law enforcement standards. Ramirez joins the Subcommittee in welcoming incoming Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan and urges him to scale back checkpoints and bring greater accountability and transparency to all Border Patrol operations to improve the quality of life and restore trust with border communities.