I just received the following for immediate release:
Disappointed with Inspector General Report on Use of Force by Border Patrol

Washington, DC—Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard introduced the Protect Family Values at the Border Act to establish standards for the humane treatment of people detained at the border and to ensure families are not separated or endangered when they are deported.

On September 17, the DHS Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) released a report entitled, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Use of Force Training and Actions to Address Use of Force Incidents,” which was requested by the Congresswoman and fifteen of her colleagues. The report criticized CBP’s deficient system for recording events involving the use-of-force by CBP personnel and noted that more than 1,000 allegations of excessive force by the agency were filed from 2007 to 2012.

The Protect Family Values at the Border Act would hold CBP accountable for their use of force by requiring them to report to Congress on all migrants who die or require hospitalization as a result of an encounter with CBP personnel. The bill also establishes basic standards for the humane treatment of individuals in CBP custody, including the provision of food, emergency medical care and translated legal documents. Additionally, the legislation would prevent deportation policies that separate families and threaten the safety of women and children.

“Based on reports of human rights abuses on the border, it is critical to establish clear standards for the humane treatment of migrants and give the Department of Homeland Security the flexibility it needs to keep families together. This bill will help institutionalize a culture that treats individuals with fairness, dignity and respect and reflects our values as Americans,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.

In recent years, CBP personnel were involved in at least 19 fatal shootings. Persons in CBP custody have reported substandard conditions and mistreatment by CBP officials. Unfortunately, the OIG report failed to examine the adequacy of CBP’s use-of-force policies or compare them with the policies of other law enforcement agencies, as the Congresswoman and her colleagues had requested.

“The sheer number of complaints about CBP personnel using excessive force over the past five years is deeply troubling,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “Along with several recent deaths of persons at the border which involved CBP agents and officers, the report’s statistics point to the need for tougher oversight and better policies to prevent these incidents. Unfortunately, the DHS Office of Inspector General did not provide an assessment of the agency’s use-of-force policies. I once again call on CBP to examine the best practices of the nation’s top police forces and take meaningful action to avert future cases of abuse and death at the hands of federal border enforcement personnel.”