Allegations of abuse by Border Patrol agents rarely investigated

The U.S. Border Patrol rarely takes action on complaints that border patrol agents are abusing detainees, even though allegations of abuse are widespread.

The American Immigration Council issued a report in May 2014 that revealed that the U.S. Border Patrol, along with its parent agency the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, rarely takes any action on reports of abuse by border patrol agents.

No action on abuse claims

The report analyzed 809 allegations of abuse made against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012, which the AIC obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The most common type of complaint that those who were being detained while awaiting removal lodged was for "physical abuse," which made up about 40 percent of the total complaints. "Excessive force" was the reason for 38 percent of the complaints.

In about 58 percent of the cases, the complaints resulted in "No Action Taken" by CPB. At the time the AIC made its request for information, 40 percent of the complaints were still under investigation. The AIC found that only six complaints resulted in an agent receiving counseling. Two complaints led to court proceedings, two complaints caused oral reprimands and two more led to written warnings. Only one agent was suspended because of a complaint.

Documenting abuses

The AIC's report is the latest information supporting the claim that Border Patrol agents routinely violate the rights not only of undocumented immigrants, but documented immigrants and U.S. citizens. A 2013 investigation revealed that Border Patrol agents have killed 42 people, including some U.S. citizens, since 2005. A survey conducted of recent detainees in Mexico, between 2009 and 2012, found that 11 percent were physically attacked while in custody in the U.S. A 2011 report issued by No More Deaths showed that 10 percent of those who were removed from the U.S. had reported being physically abused while in custody. A study conducted between 1999 and 2009 that focused on detainees who were returned to El Salvador found that 16 percent of them had suffered abuse while in custody.

Talk to an attorney

Suffering abuse at the hands of border patrol agents is just one of the many terrifying things that those who have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have to face. Those who are being detained and facing deportation are often scared of losing the lives they have tried to build in the U.S., possibly being separated from family. It is important for those facing removal to have the assistance of a skilled deportation defense attorney to make sure that officials respect detainees' rights. If you have questions about deportation, talk to a skilled deportation defense lawyer who can advise you of your options.

Keywords: immigration; asylum; visa