Immigration Law

DHS OIG Censors Recommendations to Curb Use of Deadly Force by CBP

"It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents.  Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere when these “rocking” incidents don’t pose a deadly threat, rather than use lethal force.  A respected law enforcement think tank – hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices – quietly recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.  But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released its long-awaited report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in rocking incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy of the report reviewed by The Center for Investigative Reporting.  The censored report highlights how the Department of Homeland Security has attempted to mute the contentious debate surrounding the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection as a spate of agent-involved shootings has left more than 20 people dead since 2010.  William Hillburg, a spokesman for the inspector general’s office, declined to comment on the redactions and denied an interview request.  He wrote in an email that the report was “redacted due to deliberative material.”  The watchdog’s use-of-force report said the redacted proposals were “under consideration for approval” by Customs and Border Protection’s acting commissioner, Thomas Winkowski." - Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, Jan. 29, 2014.