Watch over Border Patrol

Border Patrol is an out-of-control law enforcement agency. It is completely unacceptable and criminal that the rules of conduct for using firearms that police forces follow in our country do not apply to Border Patrol agents.

An internal report by experts criticized the Patrol for inadequately investigating cases in which agents fired their weapons. It also pointed out that the policy regarding the use of deadly force is unclear. Border Patrol rejected recommendations made in the report, like barring agents from firi ng at vehicles unless the occupants are attempting to kill the agent—to avoid creating situations to use their weapon—and barring agents from shooting people who are throwing objects that cannot cause serious injuries.

The problem is that the Border Patrol’s weapons use policy is secret—which is completely ridiculous for law enforcement agents whose salaries are paid by taxpayers in a free society.

From these pages, we have repeatedly denounced the atrocity of killing people on the other side of the border who are throwing rocks, instead of simply moving away from the limited reach of thrown objects. The experts of the study share this view.

To top it off, the report was hidden internally and the lawmakers who requested it were given incomplete versions, covering up the most controversial parts. The Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the report.

It is positive that the new Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, is “reconsidering” the initial response of rejecting the recommendations. Imposing reasonable control over the Border Patrol is urgent.

This law enforcement force deals with the border and undocumented immigrants, but that should not authorize it to have secret guidelines so its agents can kill people without being held accountable. The Patrol watches the border, and someone should watch over the Patrol.