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    Investigation into border agents clashing with Haitians at the border is still underway: NPR

    U.S. Border Guard agents on horseback are trying to prevent Haitian migrants from entering a camp on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Akna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on September 19, 2021. ..

    Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images


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    U.S. Border Guard agents on horseback are trying to prevent Haitian migrants from entering a camp on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Akna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on September 19, 2021. ..

    Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images

    Images of border guard agents clashing on horseback with Haiti immigrants in Del Rio, Texas, when the Secretary of Homeland Security promised a swift investigation, were still in a fierce rotation on cable news.

    “It will be completed in days, not weeks,” Alejandro Mallorcas said. I told a member of the Diet..

    But those who knew the border guard, and those who tried to hold their agents liable for illegal activities, knew how difficult it was.

    “I laughed,” said James Wong, a former Deputy Secretary of Interior for the US Customs and Border Protection.

    Even now, more than six weeks later, the Biden administration has not announced disciplinary action. That is natural for Wong. Prior to his retirement in 2011, it was his job to investigate allegations of illegal activity against border guard agents.

    “They treated everyone else as outsiders,” Wong said in an interview. “I was often told when I questioned some of their decisions I didn’t understand because I had never worn a green.”

    Border guard critics say the investigation into illegal activity is slow, transparent, and rarely more than a slap on the wrist.

    “These systems of investigation and discipline at border authorities are really broken and need a complete overhaul,” said Clara Long, an immigrant advocate for non-profit Human Rights Watch.

    The Department of Homeland Security does not say when the investigation will end, but promises to remain transparent about the findings.

    The last time the border guards faced such scrutiny was in the summer of 2019. The agent found using a private Facebook group to share posts and images that ridiculed dead immigrants and lawmakers, including sexual images of Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

    “That was horrifying,” said Mark Morgan, then CBP’s deputy commissioner. In an interview With NPR Taking everything into account..

    “Some of the images that were there-absolutely scary, wrong, and inconsistent with the way CBP, especially the border guards, do themselves-duration,” Morgan said.

    CBP’s Internal Disciplinary Action Committee found 60 agents committed illegal activities and recommended that 20 of them be dismissed. However, only two were eventually fired. Recent reports According to the House Surveillance Reform Commission. Most of the other agents are now back at work.

    “There is a lack of accountability and lack of surveillance,” said Daniel Martinez, a sociologist at the University of Arizona who studied how CBP treats migrants in custody. “The DHS seems to be working behind this secret veil, and the cycle seems to continue to repeat,” Martinez said in an interview.

    Border guard critics are worried about what’s happening again in Del Rio’s investigation.

    Images of border guard agents on horseback, mainly confronting black immigrants from Haiti, have received widespread criticism, even from the top ranks of the Biden administration.

    “That’s ridiculous. I promise you, those people will pay,” Biden said. During news briefing..

    However, some agents on horseback also have defenders.

    “Agents were dispatched there to do a specific job. They did exactly the same thing they were dispatched there,” said Brandon Judd, chairman of the union representing border guard agents. ..

    Judd says the agent was waving a horse’s bridle instead of a whip, and the migrants were never actually injured. He argues that the investigation was flawed from the beginning, as senior officials in the administration weighted it early on.

    “These investigators have no choice but to find cheating, which is why it takes so long,” Judd said in an interview.

    Talking to border guard critics, they actually agree with Judd about one thing. It’s not uncommon in practice for Del Rio’s agents to act on immigrants.

    Clara Long, a non-profit Human Rights Watch, said, “Some of the actions we saw in Del Rio are clearly atrocious to those who saw those pictures, but within the bounds of almost normal institutional practice. It is within. ”

    Her group Release report Last month, it documented more than 150 complaints about illegal activity at CBP, including serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse of migrants in custody. However, it is not clear if these complaints have been investigated, as CBP has not stated.

    “If the border guard was a police station operating somewhere in the United States, the Department of Justice would be everywhere,” Long said.

    However, former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, who led the authorities during the Obama administration, argues that it is a mistake to blame all Border Guard agents for their actions in Del Rio.

    “It’s a bit unmarked,” Kerlikowske told NPR. “Some people shouldn’t be there. Some people need disciplinary action, but it’s not really a border guard culture … some of these actions have been seen so publicly. “”

    Still, other former CBP officials say the border guards have even more serious problems. James Wong, who worked in CBP’s internal affairs, said the border guards see themselves as “paramilitaries” rather than as law enforcement agencies.

    “I’ve told Border Guard agents in the past that they wouldn’t withdraw and wouldn’t give up on one leg of American soil,” Wong said. “They see these people as enemies, and for me it’s annoying.”

    Border guard critics say that’s what the image from Del Rio reveals. And why they don’t expect the survey to make a big difference no matter how and when the survey ends.

    Investigation into border agents clashing with Haitians at the border is still underway: NPR

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