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Border & Immigration

Border Patrol Reports Decline In Its Use Of Force

A new CBP report shows a decline in use-of-force incidents this fiscal year from last fiscal year.
A new CBP report shows a decline in use-of-force incidents this fiscal year from last fiscal year.

Border Patrol Reports Decline In Its Use Of Force
Customs and Border Protection says its use-of-force incidents dropped 26 percent this fiscal year from the previous fiscal year.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a report Tuesday suggesting its use of force against immigrants has been on the decline.

The agency said use-of-force incidents dropped 26 percent this fiscal year compared with last fiscal year. CBP logged 768 incidents between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015, compared with more than a thousand during the previous period. The figures include incidents involving firearms and non-lethal weapons.

The CBP has been making reforms in response to allegations of excessive use of force tied to immigrant deaths. Earlier this year, the agency revised its use-of-force guidelines.

Local immigrant rights groups criticized Tuesday's report, saying it does not reflect reality.

“CBP’s effort to wash its hands and turn a painful page without providing any details regarding how it holds agents accountable offends American values of fairness and justice,” said Jennifer Johnson, border policy advisor of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said in a statement that he was encouraged by the statistics.

“This reduction (in use of force) is especially significant, considering that assaults against agents and officers have essentially remained steady,” Kerlikowske said.

Assaults against CBP during the same period rose 4.6 percent, according to the data. But they fell 20 percent from the 2013 fiscal year.

Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, said he thinks the drop in use-of-force incidents reflects excessive caution on the part of border patrol agents.

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid they’re hesitating to use force in situations that would normally call for it, because of the fear they may be prosecuted or vilified,” Moran said.

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