I have been writing repeatedly about the abusive behavior by the US Customs and Border Protection services. Not only do they harass travelers into the country and seem to delight in inflicting humiliation on them, they also seem to be cavalier with using deadly force. And when complaints are lodged, they ignore them or treat them with contempt.
So I was pleased to learn about the removal of that agency’s head of internal affairs.
Human rights advocates have welcomed the removal of the head of internal affairs for the US Customs and Border Protection after an outcry over the agency’s reluctance to investigate alleged abuses.
James Tomsheck was ousted on Monday amid mounting accusations that he ignored evidence of misconduct and corruption in the 60,000-strong force, the federal government’s biggest workforce.
Agents have killed at least 22 people and wounded many more in a spate of incidents on the Mexican border since 2010, incidents which critics said were not properly investigated.
The 22 fatal shootings garnered headlines on both sides of the border, with activists depicting a trigger-happy, militarised force which over-reacted to stone-throwing youths and other challenges.
Hundreds of immigrants filed formal complaints alleging beatings, sexual assault and other abuses. Since 2010 only 14 agents were reportedly disciplined for violating use of force policies. Opaqueness over the agency’s policy on the use of force and its internal investigations prompted complaints in Congress.
But removing one person is not enough. That agency requires a major shake-up and far more accountability.