ACLU Calls for Investigation of DHS Border Abuse

On May 27, 2016 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lodged a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, calling for an investigation into “unchecked abuse” at the southwest U.S.-Mexico border.

The complaint outlines thirteen specific instances of abuse.  Among the most striking are those concerning an eleven year old boy who allegedly had his arm fractured by CBP agents; numerous Legal Permanent Residents who allegedly were coerced into signing documents they could not read; and a 59 year old woman who was allegedly kicked during a strip search when she did not open her legs wide enough. Id.

The ACLU demanded that DHS, “end the systemic abuse documented here and in several reports, CBP must make significant changes in its training, oversight, and accountability measures. To prevent further abuses, we urge you to make changes consistent with your institutional mission.”

DHS has not commented.  However, at the close of a recent internal investigation into employee behavior CBP noted that the agency is moving “toward a more transparent and accountable approach to enforcement and workforce integrity, while protecting the public and the men and women of CBP.”

“It really mocks our American values of justice and fairness,” Cynthia Pompa, a field organizer for the ACLU, told CNN. “[CBP officers] can hurl unfounded allegations at someone, and they don’t need to provide evidence of their claim. They can act as a judge. They can act as a jury. They can act as a deporter. And it all goes unchecked.”

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