The American Immigration Council (AIC), a left-leaning illegal immigrant advocacy group, recently released a bold report declaring that there is a “lack of accountability in responding to complaints of abuse” by the U.S. Border Patrol.
AIC looked at 809 complaints filed against the U.S. Border Patrol over the last three years, from January 2009 through January 2012. Many of the complaints are supposedly related to alleged physical or verbal abuse.
The AIC report stated, “97 percent [of the complaints] resulted in ‘No Action Taken.’ On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at a decision when one was made. Moreover, among all complaints, 40 percent were still ‘pending investigation’ when the complaint data were provided to the Immigration Council.”
Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas that the report is misleading and was crafted to be used as a political tool.
“The entire report is flawed,” he said, arguing that many of these alleged cases of abuse are mere allegations with no evidence or witnesses to back them up.
“How many of these ‘complaints’ have no evidence or witness? We don’t know because the report didn’t bother to find that out,” Taylor continued. “If you have no evidence you don’t have an official complaint–you have an allegation. The AIC is using using numbers to prove a point, without verifying that each ‘complaint’ actually represents an actionable event.”
Breitbart Texas Contributing Editor Sylvia Longmire also pointed out that given the large number of apprehensions by Border Patrol agents each year, 809 complaints is not as significant of a figure as the AIC probably wants readers to think.
Longmire said, “The report conveniently leaves out a major point of context: complaints versus apprehensions. During roughly that same time frame [that the alleged abuse took place], Border Patrol agents apprehended over 1.3 million illegal border crossers. That means complaints of alleged abuse were lodged by only .06 percent of immigrants apprehended during that period. It’s very easy without this context to make it look like 809 cases is overwhelming and the Border Patrol is out of control, which is probably what the Council wants.”
Despite this, the AIC made bold statements based on the collected figures. The report said, “Taken as a whole, the data indicates the need for a stronger system of incentives (both positive and negative) for Border Patrol agents to abide by the law, respect legal rights, and refrain from abusive conduct. In order to do that, complaints should be processed more quickly and should be carefully reviewed. Furthermore, the seriousness of the complaints demands an external review.”
The AIC report further griped at length that a large percentage of the complaints are pending investigation. “First and foremost, this analysis reveals that CBP officials rarely take action against the alleged perpetrators of abuse,” the report stated. The fact that 324 of the 809 filed complaints were “still pending investigation” when complaint data was provided “amounts to powerful evidence of a serious lack of accountability and transparency within CBP,” the AIC said.
But Taylor claimed leaving the cases open is a good thing. “The agency is actually doing due diligence in leaving the cases open in the event that evidence comes to light or a witness shows up again,” he said.
He also pointed out that the AIC made no effort to distinguish how many of the complaints were filed by undocumented immigrants verses how many were filed by Border Patrol agents themselves.
Sometimes agents need to use force in order to apprehend an unruly immigrant; subsequent to any such incident, that agent then sends a report to his superior, stating that he used physical force. Each of those incidents is counted in the AIC’s total number of complaints, according to Taylor.
“If an incident occurred and a Border Patrol agent had to use physical force to get someone into custody, he would send a report up the command,” he said. “The agent’s chief would then send a report to the FBI stating that the individual used force.”
There are many cases where a Border Patrol agent could justifiably use force. For instance, if an illegal immigrant tries to escape from the vehicle or detention bus, an agent might have to tackle that individual in order to subdue him.
Not surprisingly, the report made no mention of the hundreds of assaults, many of which are well documented, launched on Border Patrol agents by illegal immigrants.
Ultimately, Taylor believes that the AIC created the report with a clear agenda.
“They took whatever information they could get and crafted it to present their argument,” Taylor said. “This report is meant to be an attack on Border Patrol. The AIC wants to stir people up because without this issue, the they would have no funding. Instead of projecting misleading figures these groups should be focusing on the welfare of lawful resident aliens and the U.S. people.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.