United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo Friday ending a controversial Border Patrol oversight team charged with investigating incidents involving border enforcement personnel. Instead, investigations will be turned over to the Office of Professional Responsibility, a different department that, while still within CBP, is specifically charged with agency oversight. Similar offices exist at other government agencies, including the Department of Justice.
The change comes after calls by advocates to end the Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCIT) program, which is comprised of Border Patrol agents charged with investigating accusations of misconduct by their fellow agents or other incidents that result in injury or fatality. Democratic members of Congress called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate BPCIT. The House Committee of Oversight and Reform also launched an investigation in January.
Democrats on the Hill and immigrant advocates cheered the move on Friday, saying incidents, including Border Patrol agent’s use of force that have caused the deaths of immigrants in their custody, should not be investigated by its own personnel.
“These teams have been investigating their own agents without official jurisdiction for decades and there have been numerous disturbing reports of BPCITs interfering with law enforcement investigations to shield CBP officers and agents,” Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, said in a statement. “Public safety depends on public trust and accountability. I will continue to monitor the disbanding of BPCITs to ensure that proper records are kept in order to get a full accounting of their actions.”
BPCITs began forming in an ad-hoc fashion at the U.S.-Mexico border in 1987, first in …read more
Source:: Time – Politics