A complaint filed against the Department of Homeland Security accuses federal agents of "unchecked abuse" along the U.S. border with Mexico – listing 13 instances of excessive force, coercion and intimidation that allegedly reflects a broader pattern of misconduct.
The administrative complaint
was lodged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Border Communities Coalition over alleged "systemic abuse" and rights violations by Customs and Border Protection agents.
"They can hurl unfounded allegations at someone, and they don't need to provide evidence of their claim," Cynthia Pompa, a field organizer at the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, tells CNN
"They can act as a judge. They can act as a jury. They can act as a deporter. And it all goes unchecked."
According to Pompa, the 13 confrontations listed in the complaint are the latest examples of a "culture of abuse" by officers.
- A 51-year-old Mexican woman falsely accused of being a prostitute and allegedly forced to sign a false confession that barred her from entering the United States for five years;
- A 40-year-old U.S. citizen stopped for an inspection whose son suffered a hairline fracture of the arm after being grabbed by agents – and who filed a complaint and never got a reply;
- A 59-year-old legal U.S. resident whom officers accused of having false documents and being a fugitive, threatening to deport her – with one agent allegedly warning her "never to cross from Mexico again."
"It really mocks our American values of justice and fairness," Pompa tells CNN. "And it shows that this agency really lacks oversight and accountability."
The groups want the Department of Homeland Security to investigate and then reform the agency – including by using body cameras to promote accountability and transparency.
DHS didn't comment but the border and protection agency, in a statement to Buzz Feed News
, said it "does not tolerate discrimination nor mistreatment and takes complaints, to include the allegations made in the May 17, 2016 letter, seriously."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.