SEATTLE – Eleven congressional leaders are calling on the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent investigation of the Customs and Border Protection’s use of its authority to stop people and vehicles within 100 miles of the northern border.
The letter instructs the Government Accountability Office to investigate Border Patrol practices that undermine trust in law enforcement, violate people’s civil rights and adversely impact public safety.” The letter asks for statistics regarding apprehensions in border regions.
OneAmerica and other allies in the Northern Borders Coalition are pushing for the audit in the wake of revelations regarding harassment and profiling by Border Patrol within its ever-expanding jurisdiction.
“The U.S. Border Patrol is undermining community safety and trust in law enforcement by providing interpretation services and fielding 911 emergency calls instead of local police” said OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stolz.
“These poorly considered practices must end. It’s time for the U.S. Border Patrol to work as a genuine partner in local communities,” he said.
“An independent audit at the national level would help us all to understand how Border Patrol’s expanded funding is being used and how it can be spent more effectively. Our common goals are to ensure national security and public safety while upholding basic rights. The Border Patrol must be held accountable to these ends,” Stolz added.
In a report earlier this year, OneAmerica documented through research and personal testimonies how Border Patrol patterns of practice have lead to fear, mistrust, and harassment in communities along the U.S. and Canada border.
Equal Voice News also reported in Beefed Up Border Patrol Devastates Northern Community on the impacts of increased border patrol presence on families in the small town of Forks, far from the northern border.