Internal corruption is what the Border Patrol really needs to crack down on


John Carnett/PopSci

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, is vulnerable to “systematic corruption” by drug cartels, smugglers and other criminals, and investigations of its internal abuses are “chronically slow,” according to a Homeland Security Department report that reveals glaring problems in the agencies that police the nation’s borders.

The abuses are so widespread that Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, should add nearly 350 criminal investigators to target internal corruption and the use of excessive and unnecessary force against migrants, the report concludes. That would boost the internal affairs roster by nearly 166%.

Arrests of border agents and customs officers “far exceed, on a per capita basis, such arrests at other law enforcement agencies,” the…report notes.

“Until this is reversed, [Customs and Border Protection] remains vulnerable to corruption that threatens its effectiveness and national security,” warns the report, which was requested by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The scathing assessment by the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an independent group that reports to Johnson, also is the latest to slam the Border Patrol for lack of accountability for hundreds of shootings by agents…

In May, the Customs and Border Protection internal affairs office absolved dozens of Border Patrol agents of criminal misconduct in 64 shooting incidents between January 2010 and October 2012, including 19 that resulted in deaths. The Justice Department is still considering charges in three other cases.

Yup. They investigated themselves.

Critics along the Southwest border and in Mexico long have argued that the Border Patrol operates with little transparency or accountability.

Indeed, one of the report’s recommendations is that agents and officers “must wear visible name tags identifying their last name on all uniforms at all times,” a practice that critics say is often ignored. A video posted online of a 21-year-old woman in New York state being Tased at a roadside checkpoint last month shows a Border Patrol supervisor wearing a green tactical vest with no visible name tag…

Vicki B. Gaubeca, co-chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition…said the report showed how Customs and Border Protection “falls short of law enforcement best practices” and needed to change.

She said the recommendations would help change the Border Patrol “culture of ‘we need to do our job at whatever cost and the only life that seems to be valued is the life of the agent'”…

Understand that this service is probably hiring folks who don’t qualify for TSA. Doesn’t that inspire confidence?

10 thoughts on “Internal corruption is what the Border Patrol really needs to crack down on

  1. Law & Order says:

    Former Border Patrol Firearms Instructor Gets 18 Months for Stealing Firearms http://fronterasdesk.org/content/11020/former-border-patrol-firearms-instructor-gets-18-months-stealing-firearms A U.S. Border Patrol was sentenced Wednesday for his role in stealing firearms including devices for machine-guns and sneaking them into Arizona.
    Jesus Manuel Franco wasn’t merely a federal agent; he was a Border Patrol firearms instructor. Prosecutors say that in 2014, he and a second agent stole about $100,000 worth of firearms parts from an agency armory in Harper’s Ferry West Virginia. And then mailed those boxes of weapon parts to the Border Patrol’s Willcox Arizona station for personal use.
    Those stolen shipments included machinegun conversion devices, prosecutors said.

  2. Copper says:

    “The FBI Is Investigating Massive Embezzlement of Border Patrol Union Funds” https://www.propublica.org/article/the-fbi-is-investigating-massive-embezzlement-of-border-patrol-union-funds
    “The head of the powerful union representing border patrol agents nationwide said the FBI is working to identify who stole some $500,000 out of the coffers of the El Paso local. The theft raises more questions about lawlessness in the union’s ranks.
    Over the past five years, hundreds of Border Patrol agents have been arrested on charges ranging from drunken driving to murder, causing alarm among congressional leaders, law enforcement experts and the Border Patrol’s own advisory board, which in 2016 warned that criminal misconduct by agents could undermine the agency’s ability to secure the borders.”
    See https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6782830-HSAC-CBP-IAP-Final-Report-FINAL-Accessible-0.html

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