Washington, D.C. (September 22, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Committee Members Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz sent a letter to Troy A. Miller, the Acting Administrator of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), demanding a briefing and answers regarding press reports of the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback.
“Such abusive conduct is unacceptable and raises troubling questions about culture, training, and discipline within CBP,” wrote the Members. “In addition, reports that thousands of migrants are being deported to Haiti despite turmoil in that country raise serious concerns about whether the federal government is failing to treat migrants—including those fleeing violence, political instability, and natural disasters—with respect and dignity and affording them a meaningful opportunity to seek asylum. We write today to urge immediate action by CBP to address these concerns.”
The Committee has an ongoing investigation of misconduct by Border Patrol agents in secret Facebook groups as well as CBP’s disciplinary process. In today’s letter, the Members urged CBP to examine broader issues of culture and training within the agency that may have contributed to this conduct.
The actions of agents at the Del Rio border appear to violate CBP’s Standards of Conduct. The agency’s Table of Offenses recommend discipling agents for “[f]ighting, threatening, attempting to inflict or inflicting bodily harm to another; engaging in dangerous horseplay, any violent act, language, gestures, or conduct toward members of the public.”
The Members also asked CBP to end its use of Title 42 to deport migrants to Haiti “at a time when the country is still reeling from multiple crises, including the assassination of Haiti’s president this July and an earthquake last month.”
“In the words of the late Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, ‘We’re better than this.’ We expect CBP to take immediate action to ensure that all migrants are treated humanely and with respect,” the Members added.
As an initial step, the Committee requested a briefing and a written response by September 24, 2021.
Click here to read today’s letter.