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CBP Corruption And Deception?

Government Corruption And Deception
Inside Immigration Agencies?

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Insider U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) corruption?

This is ugly, yet not surprising, news.

For those who doubt complaints about government abuse towards immigrants, you’re encouraged to read on.

As a San Diego immigration lawyer, I have been privy to evidence in certain cases which have removed my doubts that less-than-humane events take place at our nation’s southwest borders.

Now damaging public information has surfaced.

Just a few weeks ago, a former Chief of Internal Affairs with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, James F. Tomsheck, stepped forward with major allegations of corruption inside the agency.

His accusations were made as part of a whistleblower complaint with the Federal Office of Special Counsel. The investigation is currently underway.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Tomsheck outlined a range of volatile issues related to government wrongdoing inside the Customs and Border Protection agency, most of which have long been suspected by the immigrants community.

In surprisingly frank terms, he addressed the behavior and attitude of CBP officers toward immigrants, as well as questionable causes of immigrant deaths in certain cases.

Former Border Protection Insider Alleges Corruption, Distortion In Agency
Carrie Johnson, National Public Radio, August 28, 2014

More than two dozen people have died in violent clashes with U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 2010. Despite public outrage over some of the killings, no agent or officer has faced criminal charges – or public reprimand – to date.

Yet at least a quarter of the 28 deaths were “highly suspect,” said James F. Tomsheck, the agency’s recently removed head of internal affairs. In a sweeping and unauthorized interview with The Center for Investigative Reporting, he said the deaths raised serious questions about whether the use of lethal force was appropriate.

What’s wrong overall, Tomsheck says, is the culture. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Border Protection agents and officers thought of themselves as an extension of the military. “The phrase was frequently used — a ‘paramilitary border security force’ or a ‘paramilitary homeland security force.’ “

One that he says operated outside normal legal bounds. “I believe that has caused them to believe that they are separate and distinct from the federal law enforcement community,” he says. “And not bound by the same constitutional restraints regarding use of force.”

In a normal situation, these allegations would get bureaucratic heads rolling. Of course, Tomsheck’s complaint is related to immigration law, where it seems nothing is ever normal.

Just a few months before his public interview, in fact, Tomsheck was reassigned.

He now serves as the Customs and Border Protection Executive Director For National Programs. It is not clear if this change was a lateral career move, an upgrade, or a demotion.

Prior to his position change, he had given closed-door briefings to various Senate committees.

It seems rather obvious, even as an outsider, there is far more than meets the public eye in this situation. Whether the public will ever know the truth of Thomseck’s allegations is unlikely.

However, if his actions lead to cleaning up how the CBP and other immigration agencies treat immigrants, it would constitute a net plus in the quest for compassionate immigration reform.

Here is a podcast copy of the NPR interview:

 

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