Trump ‘Proud’ to Close Government for Border Security

President Trump has made it nearly impossible for Republicans to blame Democrats for an increasingly likely partial government shutdown. Still, the House GOP may pass a bill providing $5 billion for the president’s border wall.

President Trump has made it nearly impossible for Republicans to blame Democrats for an increasingly likely partial government shutdown, Politico reports. They’re going to try anyway. House Republicans may pass a stopgap spending bill that provides $5 billion for Trump’s border wall, daring Senate Democrats to accept it or face the fallout of any funding lapse next week. Democrats and some Republicans aren’t taking the gambit seriously after Trump boasted that he’d be “proud” to shut down the government over his wall demands during a televised Oval Office clash with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Az.) said, “Everybody wants to blame it on the other party, always. That’s what you typically do. That’s out the window now.” Congressional Republicans were reeling as they tried to adjust to the president’s stunning willingness to own an impending partial shutdown over his wall demands. Trump declared, “I don’t mind owning that issue. … We’re closing it down for border security and I think I win that every single time.” Trump’s confidence, and his partnership with the congressional GOP, will be tested if roughly a quarter of the government ends up closing after next week without a bipartisan agreement. Schumer said that if the government shuts down, Pelosi will pass a bill restarting the government on Jan. 3, putting the onus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to buckle or stick with Trump’s border fight.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Ninth Circuit Upholds Block on Trump Asylum Ban

A U.S. appeals court refused to allow the Trump administration to enforce a ban on asylum for immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The ban is inconsistent with an existing law and an attempted end-run around Congress, said a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit panel in a 2-1 decision.

A divided U.S. appeals court refused to allow the Trump administration to enforce a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, reports the Associated Press. The ban is inconsistent with an existing U.S. law and an attempted end-run around Congress, said a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit panel in a 2-1 decision. “Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office,” said Judge Jay Bybee, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

At issue is President Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation that barred anyone who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between official ports of entry from seeking asylum. Trump issued the order in response to caravans of migrants approaching the border. A lower court judge temporarily blocked the ban, and the administration appealed for an immediate stay of Judge Jon Tigar’s Nov. 19 temporary restraining order. In a dissent, Judge Edward Leavy said the administration “adopted legal methods to cope with the current problems rampant at the southern border.” Nothing in the law the majority cited prevented a rule categorically barring eligibility for asylum on the basis of how a person entered the country, said Leavy, a nominee of President Ronald Reagan.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Asylum Requests to U.S. Officials Have Ballooned

In the year ending Sept. 30, the federal government processed a record-setting 99,035 requests for asylum, including 62,609 from Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans. The number was 13,880 in 2012.

Discussions of the stream of migrants pooling at the southwest border of the U.S. tend to lump them together with those who have already slipped through. That ignores a shifting dynamic, the Wall Street Journal reports. While the number of people sneaking into the country is way down, the number asking to be admitted for humanitarian reasons has ballooned. Last fiscal year, only 304,000 undocumented immigrants were apprehended at the southwest border, compared with 1.6 million in 2000, when most crossed in search of work. Meanwhile, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recorded 78,564 requests for asylum last fiscal year, compared with 13,880 in 2012. Among last year’s asylum seekers, 24,377 asked for help at a port of entry. The others asked after they were apprehended at the border.

This fiscal year, which ended in September, the total is larger: USCIS processed a record-setting 99,035 requests for asylum, including 62,609 from Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans. “We’ve never seen this many people coming to the border to seek asylum,” said Faye Hipsman, a former analyst with the Migration Policy Institute. In the big scheme of things, the numbers are tiny. Combined with government policies aimed at slowing down the asylum process and limiting the number of refugees admitted to the country, the unusually large pool has contributed to a glut of detentions and a backlog of claims.  Migrants who persuade an asylum officer they have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear they will be persecuted if they return home cannot be deported until an asylum case is processed. Last fiscal year, credible fear was established in three-quarters of the cases.

from https://thecrimereport.org

U.S. Separated 81 Migrant Kids From Families Since June

The Trump administration separated 81 migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border since the June executive order that stopped the general practice amid a crackdown on illegal crossings. Despite the order and a federal judge’s later ruling, immigration officials still are allowed to separate a child from a parent in certain cases.

The Trump administration separated 81 migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border since the June executive order that stopped the general practice amid a crackdown on illegal crossings, the Associated Press reports. Despite the order and a federal judge’s later ruling, immigration officials are allowed to separate a child from a parent in certain cases, including serious criminal charges against a parent, concerns over the health and welfare of a child or medical concerns. Those caveats were in place before the zero-tolerance policy that prompted the earlier separations at the border. The government decides whether a child fits into the areas of concern, worrying advocates who are afraid parents are being falsely labeled as criminals. From June 21, the day after President Trump’s order, through Tuesday, 76 adults were separated from the children.

Of those, 51 were criminally prosecuted — 31 with criminal histories and 20 for other unspecified reasons. Nine were hospitalized, 10 had gang affiliations and four had extraditable warrants. Two were separated because of prior immigration violations and orders of removal. “The welfare of children in our custody is paramount,” said Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “As we have already said — and the numbers show: Separations are rare. While there was a brief increase during zero tolerance as more adults were prosecuted, the numbers have returned to their prior levels.” At its height over the summer, more than 2,400 children were separated. The practice prompted sparked global outrage from politicians, humanitarians and religious groups who called it cruel and callous.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Largest Migrant Youth Shelter Provider Reviews Practices

Southwest Key Programs will hire outside legal counsel and forensic accountants to review its practices after the New York Times raised quiestions about possible financial improprieties at the Texas charity.

Southwest Key Programs, the nation’s largest provider of shelters for migrant children, will hire outside legal counsel and forensic accountants to review its management and finances, reports the New York Times. The decision responded to a Times article that raised questions about potential financial improprieties at the Texas charity. Juan Sanchez, who founded the nonprofit more than 30 years ago, said the comprehensive internal review would identify potential conflicts of interest and areas for improvement in governance. Over a decade, Southwest Key has collected $1.7 billion in federal grants. The Times described how the charity lent millions to developers to buy shelters and had enriched investors who rented facilities to Southwest Key, including Sanchez and the charity’s chief financial officer, part-owners of one shelter site.

The federal government capped executive salaries paid from the shelter grants last year at $187,000, but Sanchez earned $1.5 million as chief executive. His wife, a vice president, got $500,000; the chief financial officer, Melody Chung, $1 million. Sanchez said he was “disappointed that the article failed to show the number of lives we’ve changed with the significant number of reunifications, and it failed to highlight the good work we do” in schools and juvenile justice programs. The independence and thoroughness of the investigation will depend on who leads it, said Lloyd Mayer, a professor at Notre Dame Law School specializing in nonprofit law. “It can be difficult as the outside investigator to write a hard-hitting report to slam the very person who seems to be driving the process,” Mayer said. “Everyone knows who is paying the bills and what the desired response is.” Federal officials are increasing scrutiny of shelter providers, hiring an accounting firm to review their finances. Southwest Key has 24 facilities for 5,000 children. The children’s shelter system is full, with a record 14,000 minors spread across 100 sites.

from https://thecrimereport.org

New Jersey AG Assails ‘Harebrained’ Federal Immigration Policies

In a blunt talk to students and faculty at John Jay College, Gurbir Grewal said state attorneys-general have been critical to the struggle against “harebrained” federal efforts to criminalize immigrants over the past two years. But conservative federal court appointments will make things tougher, he warned.

State attorneys-general across the U.S. have served as a critical check so far on the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant initiatives—but their struggle may soon get tougher as federal court vacancies are filled by more conservative judges, an audience at John Jay College of Criminal Justice was told Monday.

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s Attorney General, said he hoped the new Democratic majority elected to Congress in last month’s midterms would take up the task as the White House “packs the courts” with new judges closer to its ideological views.

Gurbir Grewal

New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. (Office of Attorney General / Tim Larsen)

In blunt remarks to faculty and students, Grewal said that state attorneys-general have frequently joined forces in the past two years to battle “harebrained” federal schemes, such as attempting to block visitors from some Muslim countries.

“When the Department of Justice stands down on its obligations, we stand up,” said Grewal, a former federal prosecutor who was appointed in January by New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phillip D. Murphy as the country’s first state attorney general of Sikh heritage.

New Jersey recently sent prosecutors to Texas to successfully battle an attempt in federal court there to repeal the status of “Dreamers”—young people who have been granted leave to stay in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act.

But, Grewal added, efforts by attorneys-general to fight Trump initiatives in federal court are likely to become more difficult as the administration attempts to fill judicial vacancies at the district or appeal court levels with judges more favorable to its “ideological” point of view.

The hope is that the newly elected Democratic members of the House, who will be a majority when they take office in January, can act as a more effective brake on government initiatives and, in particular, counter the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of Washington, Grewal said.

“We have seen a president who has pitted communities against each other, put children in cages, demeaned the humanity (of immigrants)” by referring to them as thugs, and helped foster an atmosphere in which “bias and hate” could flourish, he said.

But Grewal also pointed out that he, like other state attorneys-general, was already moving from battling against the government to developing positive initiatives.

“We can start building models of what good government looks like,” he said, pointing to recent initiatives such as the Immigrant Trust Directive, announced last week, which ordered New Jersey law enforcement agencies to limit cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Grewal has also promised major reforms in police training, including violence de-escalation tactics, following a New Jersey newspaper investigation that uncovered a pattern of questionable use-of-force incidents by state law enforcement over the past five years.

See also: NJ Attorney General Grewal Promises ‘Wholesale Reform’ on Police Use of Force. 

The son of South Asian immigrants, Grewal says he takes the anti-immigrant rhetoric personally, having been the target of racist rhetoric during his legal career.

He recalled going into his law offices in Washington after the September 11th, 2001 attacks while a homeless man shouted “I found Bin Laden,” whenever Grewal walked by.

“I grew up in this country…and I checked every box. I was a soccer (dad), I drove a minivan,” he said to laughter.

“But I woke up one day to feel completely un-American.”

Lingering stereotypes of immigrants motivated his own career choices, Grewal said.

Grewal told the students that he had entered public service, after first considering a diplomatic career, to change people’s perceptions of him and others who looked like him.

Grewal, who served as prosecutor of Bergen County, the state’s most populous county, under then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie, developed programs designed to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis, such as “Operation Helping Hand,”which offers low-level drug offenders treatment options upon arrest.

Earlier, as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York and later, in New Jersey, Grewal led the successful prosecution of 12 men charged with providing material support to the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, and the prosecution of major white collar and fraud cases.

The new rules under the Immigrant Trust Directive go into affect March 2019. They include:

For New Jersey Police Officers

  • Cannot stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status.
  • Cannot ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation.
  • Cannot participate in ICE’s civil immigration enforcement operations.
  • Cannot provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property.

For New Jersey Correctional Officers 

  • Cannot allow ICE to interview individuals detained on criminal charges, unless the detainee is advised of his or her right to a lawyer and signs a written consent form.
  • Cannot continue to hold a detained individual arrested for a minor criminal offense, without certain prior convictions,

For New Jersey Prosecutors 

  • Cannot attack a witness’s credibility at trial based on his or her immigration status.
  • Cannot seek pretrial detention of an individual based solely on his or her immigration status.

Megan Hadley is a senior staff writer for The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

New Jersey AG Assails ‘Harebrained’ Federal Immigration Policies

In a blunt talk to students and faculty at John Jay College, Gurbir Grewal said state attorneys-general have been critical to the struggle against “harebrained” federal efforts to criminalize immigrants over the past two years. But conservative federal court appointments will make things tougher, he warned.

State attorneys-general across the U.S. have served as a critical check so far on the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant initiatives—but their struggle may soon get tougher as federal court vacancies are filled by more conservative judges, an audience at John Jay College of Criminal Justice was told Monday.

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s Attorney General, said he hoped the new Democratic majority elected to Congress in last month’s midterms would take up the task as the White House “packs the courts” with new judges closer to its ideological views.

Gurbir Grewal

New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. (Office of Attorney General / Tim Larsen)

In blunt remarks to faculty and students, Grewal said that state attorneys-general have frequently joined forces in the past two years to battle “harebrained” federal schemes, such as attempting to block visitors from some Muslim countries.

“When the Department of Justice stands down on its obligations, we stand up,” said Grewal, a former federal prosecutor who was appointed in January by New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phillip D. Murphy as the country’s first state attorney general of Sikh heritage.

New Jersey recently sent prosecutors to Texas to successfully battle an attempt in federal court there to repeal the status of “Dreamers”—young people who have been granted leave to stay in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act.

But, Grewal added, efforts by attorneys-general to fight Trump initiatives in federal court are likely to become more difficult as the administration attempts to fill judicial vacancies at the district or appeal court levels with judges more favorable to its “ideological” point of view.

The hope is that the newly elected Democratic members of the House, who will be a majority when they take office in January, can act as a more effective brake on government initiatives and, in particular, counter the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of Washington, Grewal said.

“We have seen a president who has pitted communities against each other, put children in cages, demeaned the humanity (of immigrants)” by referring to them as thugs, and helped foster an atmosphere in which “bias and hate” could flourish, he said.

But Grewal also pointed out that he, like other state attorneys-general, was already moving from battling against the government to developing positive initiatives.

“We can start building models of what good government looks like,” he said, pointing to recent initiatives such as the Immigrant Trust Directive, announced last week, which ordered New Jersey law enforcement agencies to limit cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Grewal has also promised major reforms in police training, including violence de-escalation tactics, following a New Jersey newspaper investigation that uncovered a pattern of questionable use-of-force incidents by state law enforcement over the past five years.

See also: NJ Attorney General Grewal Promises ‘Wholesale Reform’ on Police Use of Force. 

The son of South Asian immigrants, Grewal says he takes the anti-immigrant rhetoric personally, having been the target of racist rhetoric during his legal career.

He recalled going into his law offices in Washington after the September 11th, 2001 attacks while a homeless man shouted “I found Bin Laden,” whenever Grewal walked by.

“I grew up in this country…and I checked every box. I was a soccer (dad), I drove a minivan,” he said to laughter.

“But I woke up one day to feel completely un-American.”

Lingering stereotypes of immigrants motivated his own career choices, Grewal said.

Grewal told the students that he had entered public service, after first considering a diplomatic career, to change people’s perceptions of him and others who looked like him.

Grewal, who served as prosecutor of Bergen County, the state’s most populous county, under then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie, developed programs designed to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis, such as “Operation Helping Hand,”which offers low-level drug offenders treatment options upon arrest.

Earlier, as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York and later, in New Jersey, Grewal led the successful prosecution of 12 men charged with providing material support to the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, and the prosecution of major white collar and fraud cases.

The new rules under the Immigrant Trust Directive go into affect March 2019. They include:

For New Jersey Police Officers

  • Cannot stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status.
  • Cannot ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation.
  • Cannot participate in ICE’s civil immigration enforcement operations.
  • Cannot provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property.

For New Jersey Correctional Officers 

  • Cannot allow ICE to interview individuals detained on criminal charges, unless the detainee is advised of his or her right to a lawyer and signs a written consent form.
  • Cannot continue to hold a detained individual arrested for a minor criminal offense, without certain prior convictions,

For New Jersey Prosecutors 

  • Cannot attack a witness’s credibility at trial based on his or her immigration status.
  • Cannot seek pretrial detention of an individual based solely on his or her immigration status.

Megan Hadley is a senior staff writer for The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

Conservative Judges Imperil Fight Against Trump Immigrant Policies: New Jersey AG

In a blunt talk to students and faculty at John Jay College, Gurbir Grewal said state attorneys-general have been critical to the struggle against “harebrained” federal efforts to criminalize immigrants over the past two years. But conservative federal court appointments will make things tougher, he warned.

State attorneys-general across the U.S. have served as a critical check so far on the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant initiatives—but their struggle may soon get tougher as federal court vacancies are filled by more conservative judges, an audience at John Jay College of Criminal Justice was told Monday.

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s Attorney General, said he hoped the new Democratic majority elected to Congress in last month’s midterms would take up the task as the White House “packs the courts” with new judges closer to its ideological views.

Gurbir Grewal

New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. (Office of Attorney General / Tim Larsen)

In blunt remarks to faculty and students, Grewal said that state attorneys-general have frequently joined forces in the past two years to battle “harebrained” federal schemes, such as attempting to block visitors from some Muslim countries.

“When the Department of Justice stands down on its obligations, we stand up,” said Grewal, a former federal prosecutor who was appointed in January by New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phillip D. Murphy as the country’s first state attorney general of Sikh heritage.

New Jersey recently sent prosecutors to Texas to successfully battle an attempt in federal court there to repeal the status of “Dreamers”—young people who have been granted leave to stay in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act.

But, Grewal added, efforts by attorneys-general to fight Trump initiatives in federal court are likely to become more difficult as the administration attempts to fill judicial vacancies at the district or appeal court levels with judges more favorable to its “ideological” point of view.

The hope is that the newly elected Democratic members of the House, who will be a majority when they take office in January, can act as a more effective brake on government initiatives and, in particular, counter the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of Washington, Grewal said.

“We have seen a president who has pitted communities against each other, put children in cages, demeaned the humanity (of immigrants)” by referring to them as thugs, and helped foster an atmosphere in which “bias and hate” could flourish, he said.

But Grewal also pointed out that he, like other state attorneys-general, was already moving from battling against the government to developing positive initiatives.

“We can start building models of what good government looks like,” he said, pointing to recent initiatives such as the Immigrant Trust Directive, announced last week, which ordered New Jersey law enforcement agencies to limit cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Grewal has also promised major reforms in police training, including violence de-escalation tactics, following a New Jersey newspaper investigation that uncovered a pattern of questionable use-of-force incidents by state law enforcement over the past five years.

See also: NJ Attorney General Grewal Promises ‘Wholesale Reform’ on Police Use of Force. 

The son of South Asian immigrants, Grewal says he takes the anti-immigrant rhetoric personally, having been the target of racist rhetoric during his legal career.

He recalled going into his law offices in Washington after the September 11th, 2001 attacks while a homeless man shouted “I found Bin Laden,” whenever Grewal walked by.

“I grew up in this country…and I checked every box. I was a soccer (dad), I drove a minivan,” he said to laughter.

“But I woke up one day to feel completely un-American.”

Lingering stereotypes of immigrants motivated his own career choices, Grewal said.

Grewal told the students that he had entered public service, after first considering a diplomatic career, to change people’s perceptions of him and others who looked like him.

Grewal, who served as prosecutor of Bergen County, the state’s most populous county, under then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie, developed programs designed to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis, such as “Operation Helping Hand,”which offers low-level drug offenders treatment options upon arrest.

Earlier, as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York and later, in New Jersey, Grewal led the successful prosecution of 12 men charged with providing material support to the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, and the prosecution of major white collar and fraud cases.

The new rules under the Immigrant Trust Directive go into affect March 2019. They include:

For New Jersey Police Officers

  • Cannot stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status.
  • Cannot ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation.
  • Cannot participate in ICE’s civil immigration enforcement operations.
  • Cannot provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property.

For New Jersey Correctional Officers 

  • Cannot allow ICE to interview individuals detained on criminal charges, unless the detainee is advised of his or her right to a lawyer and signs a written consent form.
  • Cannot continue to hold a detained individual arrested for a minor criminal offense, without certain prior convictions,

For New Jersey Prosecutors 

  • Cannot attack a witness’s credibility at trial based on his or her immigration status.
  • Cannot seek pretrial detention of an individual based solely on his or her immigration status.

Megan Hadley is a senior staff writer for The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

NYC Federal Judge Rules for States in ‘Sanctuary’ Dispute

Seven states and New York City sued the Justice Department, arguing they were being unfairly denied grant funds for refusing to give certain details about illegal immigrants to the federal government. A judge ruled in their favor, joining judges in other areas who have issued similar rulings saying state and local governments are entitled to get federal anticrime aid.

A New York City federal judge barred the Justice Department from withholding law-enforcement grants from states and cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities, reports the Wall Street Journal. The ruling is the latest in a battle between the Trump administration and so-called sanctuary jurisdictions over compliance with federal immigration policy. Seven states and New York City sued the Justice Department, arguing they were being unfairly denied grant funds for refusing to give certain details about illegal immigrants to the federal government. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ordered the Justice Department to allow the plaintiffs—New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and New York City—to get the funds without complying with immigration conditions. The states would have collectively received more than $25 million in grants. “Consistent with every other court that has considered these issues, the Court concludes that Defendants did not have lawful authority to impose these conditions,” Ramos wrote.

The Justice Department has said it has the authority to impose conditions on states and cities that receive the grants. These conditions include giving federal agents access to illegal immigrants in prisons and jails, and informing the Department of Homeland Security about immigrants’ release dates from these facilities. Local law-enforcement officials have said that supplying this information to the federal government would discourage immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating with investigations. The grants, made under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, are named after a New York City police officer who was killed in the line of duty. The grants can be used for initiatives related to law enforcement, drug treatment, witnesses, prosecution, and related programs.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Despite Tear Gas, Border Agents Use Force Less Often

Agents’ use of tear gas against migrants in Tijuana provoked outrage, but they use force less often now than during the Obama administration.

U.S. Border Patrol agents near Tijuana, Mexico, faced a choice as they viewed the chaos of a crowd of migrants that included rock-throwing men as well as barefoot children: Do they respond with force, and, if so, what kind? Agents must make split-second choices, more often in the remote desert, where they are likely working alone and encountering groups of people crossing illegally, the Associated Press reports. Sunday’s use of tear gas triggered widespread outrage and rekindled complaints that the Border Patrol, bolstered by President Trump’s tough talk, is too quick to use force, particularly when responding to people throwing rocks. Use of force by Customs and Border Protection agents is declining from a high during the 2013 budget year. Experts say policies have improved following a major audit five years ago.

“There has been progress made — especially in getting officers better training and better equipment,” said Prof. Josiah Heyman of the University of Texas at El Paso, director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies. “When I first started studying this, most agents had a gun and a baton. They didn’t have the choice to use anything else.” Firearms were used 45 times in 2013 compared with 17 in 2017. For the first 11 months of the 2018 budget year, firearms were used 14 times. In that time, there were 743 cases of agents using less-lethal force, like batons, stun guns, tear gas and pepper spray. These included 29 cases in which tear gas was used and 43 incidents of pepper spray. In 2013, during the Obama administration, there were 1,168 incidents of less-lethal force, the use of which has increased over the past two years but is still lower than 2013. Border agents now undergo scenario-based drills at the academy and learn how to de-escalate tense situations. They get 64 hours of on-the-job training on use of force.

from https://thecrimereport.org