Border rights groups reiterate their call for border accountability and oversight.
By Kim Rescate and Ricardo Favela / Southern Border Communities Coalition
There have been 28 reported deaths since 2010 involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Despite pressure from Southern Border communities, no agent or officer have been issued criminal charges or publicly reprimanded to this day. A statement issued by recently removed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Head of Internal Affairs James F. Tomscheck confirmed “at least a quarter of the 28 deaths were highly suspect.” He stated that the deaths raised questions within the agency about its use of lethal force.
Many high-ranking officials have put the issue of accountability and transparency to question. There is a lack of action on complaints of abuse and excessive use of force. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had pegged the CBP agency’s corruption rate among its employees as high as 20 percent or more. It has been reported that over 170 CBP employees, including CBP agents, have been arrested or convicted of corruption-related charges.
Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) Director Christian Ramírez stated:
“The latest revelations from an ousted top-ranking official, James F. Tomscheck, in Customs and Border Protection , confirm what Southern Border communities have known for many years. The largest law-enforcement agency needs an urgent overhaul. Although steps have been taken by CBP’s new leadership to be more transparent, the administration must take immediate steps to ensure that CBP is held accountable and effective oversight mechanisms are implemented. As the President contemplates administrative reforms to address immigration, overhauling CBP must be a top priority.”
The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), is made up of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (CA), Border Action Network (AZ), Arizona Sonora Border Coalition (AZ), Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy & Services (NM), and Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network (TX).