ACLU: Border Patrol Use Of Force Guidelines Fall Short

Mar 7, 2014

Las Cruces, NM—Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released two documents in relation to Border Patrol use-of-force policies. The first is a new directive from Chief Michael J. Fisher to U.S. Border Patrol agents intended to clarify existing guidelines governing the use of force, with particular emphasis on responding to rock throwing and vehicle assaults. The second document is a slightly redacted copy of the agency’s October 2010CBP Use of Force Policy Handbook previously leaked by The Washington Post.

Brian Erickson, Policy Advocate with the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, stated:

“While it appears that Customs and Border Protection is beginning to respond to the demands of border residents for greater transparency, Border Patrol Chief Fisher’s new guidance on use of force is largely a restatement of existing policy. DHS must release the independent report commissioned from the respected Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) so the public can assess why Chief Fisher has rejected two of its central recommendations regarding use of force in response to rock and vehicle assaults.

A clarification of policy does not address the systemic lack of accountability that has led to at least 27 CBP-involved deaths individuals since January 2010. The administration should initiate an independent inquiry into all cases when CBP officials used deadly force over the last 5 years, so the public can understand why the nation’s largest law enforcement agency has been failing to follow best law enforcement practices with dozens of tragically fatal results.”

A copy of the ACLU’s recommendations regarding use of force by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers can be found here: