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ACLU Demands Investigation Of Alleged Customs And Border Protection Abuses

The ACLU is calling for an investigation into alleged abuse by Customs and Border Protection agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The ACLU is calling for an investigation into alleged abuse by Customs and Border Protection agents along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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ACLU Complaint

ACLU Complaint

The ACLU's complaint to DHS about alleged abuses at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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In a complaint sent to the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday, ACLU attorneys from the four southern border states say customs agents appear to be engaging in widespread abuse of legal border crossers.

Attorney Sean Riordan from the ACLU’s San Diego office spoke to KPBS.

“We have people being subjected to coercive interrogation," he said. "We have people being forced to give up their travel documents, we have people being strip-searched, drug out of their cars with guns pointed at their heads.”

Riordan and attorneys from the four southern border states took testimonials from U.S. citizens, legal residents and authorized travelers who say they were harassed or abused by customs officers as they were trying to enter the country.

They include travelers allegedly slammed against walls, and one who reported being chained by his toe to a metal bench.

The Customs and Border Protection Agency has hired thousands of new agents in recent years.

“We do have concerns about whether they’re being trained appropriately about the important constitutional rights that all travelers have,” Riordan said.

The ACLU wants an investigation of each of the cases included in its complaint, better training and reforms within Customs and Border Protection.

Customs and Border Protection issued a statement in response.

"CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe," it said. "We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within ourranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty.”

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