Back in May 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) policies were reviewed by Congress and they decided that a change in how immigration officials use force must be made. After proposing policy changes that included improving force training exercises, a better system tracking CBP’s use of force and better equipment was made available for CBP, Congress is keeping up with CBP and ensuring that the policies are continually implemented in order to increase safety for both immigrants and immigration officials.
After Congress proposed changes to prevent unnecessary violence by CBP, the agency responded by saying they “agreed with the spirit and concerns underlying the more than 90 recommendation from the three reviews.” Unfortunately, a few months later, CBP did not uphold their commitment to using force along the border.
There exists a dichotomy between using violence to protect immigration officials and making rash decisions to use unnecessary force against immigrants. A PERF report recommended that CBP stop using deadly force against rock throwers across the border, but the Chief of Border Patrol decided he would not comply with not using violence and called the recommendation “very problematic.”
The difficulty in implementing this policy is that it is relative to whomever interprets it. Reducing violence along the border can mean different things to different people. CBP has been trying to make the transition within the last few years from a position of abusive authority to a strong centralized unit striving to protect both immigrants and U.S. citizens. Immigration activists have also been giving Congress their input on the issue and believe it is time to “revitalize, not militarize, the border.”
Rallies and protests held by immigrants included speeches by those who have lost family members due to CBP violence. Congress is hoping CBP will reconsider their position on violence and find a better method to secure the border without risking lives daily.
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