Congressional members, immigrant ask for border patrol abuse investigation

Last week, immigrant advocate groups and 11 members of Congress called for an independent investigation into reports of abuse at the hands of Border Patrol. Michigan Congressman Hansen Clarke’s office represented the other U.S. Representatives at a press conference and joined immigrant groups representing states from New York to Washington requesting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of Border Patrol practices.

“When Border Patrol targets people based solely on their race or religion, rather than their behavior, they are weakening our national security and undermining our civil rights,” said Dawud Walid, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations MI, “We need Border Patrol to play by the rules, and act like professionals.”

The letter calling for the GAO investigation of Border Patrol comes after a number of reports of abuse by Border Patrol ranging from detaining people based on nothing but their skin color or apparent religion, to denying food and water to those detained.  Most notable among these reports is a two-part PBS “Need to Know” documentary that includes eyewitness testimony of from a Border Patrol agent whistle blower .

“After years of internal investigations, it's become clear that Border Patrol can’t police itself. Even former agents have come forward to confirm the problems with abuse,” Ryan Bates, Director, Alliance for Immigrants Rights – Michigan.  “It's time for an independent watchdog to help get Border Patrol under control, which is why we're so glad that eleven Members of Congress have called on the GAO...”

The PBS video may be seen at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/security/video-first-look-crossing-the-line/13597/. Reports on border patrol abuse are at http://www.nyclu.org/publications/report-justice-derailed-what-raids-trains-and-buses-reveal-about-border-patrols-interi and https://www.weareoneamerica.org/northern-border.