Border Patrol, Customs Agents 'Rarely Disciplined'

Fewer than 2 percent of U.S. Border Patrol agents were disciplined for recent abuse complaints, a new report finds.

Border Patrol, Customs Agents 'Rarely Disciplined'
Flickr / Living-Learning Programs

A report from an immigration watchdog indicates U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were rarely disciplined for incidents of abuse — even when the use of force led to death.

"Since 2005, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officers have taken the lives of 42 people, including 12 Americans." (Via AZCentral.com)

The American Immigration Council's report indicates 97 percent of complaints were closed with "no action taken."

And just 1.6 percent of the 809 incidents studied have led to corrective action for the agents involved. An AIC official told The New York Times it's a worrying statistic.

"These stark findings exemplify the culture of impunity that prevails at C.B.P. Given the tremendous resources appropriated to C.B.P., the agency must do a better job of holding its officers accountable."

This is not the first report to cast Customs and Border Patrol in a critical light. A review commissioned by the agency itself made headlines in February when it highlighted questionable deadly-force incidents. (Via Los Angeles Times, NPR)

The agency now appears to be responding: In new orders Friday, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher directed agents to avoid certain scenarios that have previously escalated to the use of deadly force.

"While you should never have reservations about performing your duties … the level of force applied must reflect the totality of the circumstances surrounding each situation." (Via U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Fisher's changes took immediate effect on Friday.