These are among the allegations that 11 legislators — including U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit — and human rights advocates have lodged against the U.S. Border Patrol in relation to the officers’ actions along the Canadian-United States border.
Concerned legislators recently sent letters to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking for a third-party audit of the Border Patrol agents’ actions along the northern border. So far, there has been no response.
Clearly, though, this needs to be addressed.
There appears to be little or no public accountability for Border Patrol agents. They can arrest and detain someone without ever revealing who they arrested, who they are jailing and why. When pressed for answers via Freedom of Information Act laws, they delay, delay again and finally respond with blank pages of arrest information or generic overview information.
Border Patrol agents have more sweeping powers than do most police officers, and tout vague regulations about pulling over or detaining people based upon “suspicion.”
You have tan skin. You are suspicious. Let me see your driver’s license and documentation. Let me search your car while we’re at it.
This is certainly the impression that many — including legislators and human rights activists — have of Border Patrol activities along at least the northern border.
Certainly, those agents along the southern border have their hands full. But along the northern border, the agents’ ranks have doubled since 2007. Do we really need this many Border Patrol agents roaming our colder climates? Do they have enough to keep them legitimately busy? Are they held accountable? Do they really keep our borders safe?
This is all in question.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office should evaluate Border Patrol agents’ activities and provide clear answers to the public. If these agents are doing nothing wrong, then they have nothing to worry about and they’ll be cleared of “suspicion.”
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.