Institutionalizing CBP Use of Force Policy Revisions

Today’s Announcement an Important Step, Congress has the Option to Pass Permanent Solutions Proposed in HR 4303

El Paso, TX/Southern New Mexico. Today, May 30, 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the revisions it has made to its Use of Force Policy and Procedure Handbook after an external review of its policy by the Police Executive Research Forum.

Border communities have been long advocating for reforms by the agency. Recently, Members of Congress representing border stakeholders have proposed the bi-partisan Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight and Stakeholder Engagement Act of 2014 (HR 4303). The purpose of this Act is to increase transparency and accountability of CBP.

“Today’s announcement on the use of force is but one step in a series of reforms that DHS-CBP must make in order to align our nation’s largest law enforcement agency with our American values. Congress has an option in HR 4303 to address a broad range of areas where the agency can become more accountable to the communities where it operates,” said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of Border Network for Human Rights.

“We continue to applaud the bipartisan work of Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-2) and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) as they take our needs to the halls of Congress and the headquarters of CBP,” he added.

“Today’s announcement is a good first step by CBP to bring greater transparency and accountability to the agency,” said Pearce. “I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman O’Rourke and my fellow colleagues in Congress to ensure CBP personnel receive the training they want and deserve, while also providing mechanisms for greater interaction with the communities in which they serve and protect.”

Congressman Beto O’Rourke “Today’s release is a welcome act of transparency from CBP. Even more critical than the revision and release of these policies will be changes to training and oversight to ensure the new policies are effectively institutionalized. The O’Rourke/Pearce Border Accountability Act provides a bipartisan blueprint for permanently reforming CBP in a way that provides agents with the tools they need to do their jobs safely while respecting the dignity and Constitutional rights of those who live, work and travel along the border.”

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