While Donald Trump keeps falsely portraying immigrants as criminals and dangerous, more than 500 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees were arrested for incidents ranging from bribery to domestic abuse in 2016 and 2017, CBP’s own investigation finds. “The most common arrests were related to misconduct involving drugs or alcohol; the reports concluded that 109 employees faced those kinds of charges in 2016, and 119 in 2017. Domestic or family misconduct was the second most common reason for the arrest of the border agency employees—51 in 2017, up from 44 the previous year, the data show.”
What the CBP report, released by CBP’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility, doesn’t list are two horrific incidents from 2018 that have been mostly ignored by mainstream reporting, like the shooting death of Claudia Patricia Gómez González. Claudia, an indigenous woman from Guatemala, was shot and killed by a still-unnamed border agent along the Texas border in May. Border Patrol at first claimed that she ambushed an agent with “blunt object,” but that was all a lie. Her case continues to remain under investigation.
Then in September, Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year veteran of CBP, confessed to killing four women during a 10-day murder spree. Law enforcement believes Ortiz “probably used his government-issued, semiautomatic weapon” to kill Guiselda Alicia Hernandez, Claudine Ann Luera, Janelle Ortiz, and Melissa Ramirez, and nearly kill Erika Peña, his would-be fifth victim. Yes, Border Patrol had a serial killer in its ranks—“the prosecutor says he feels comfortable describing Ortiz as a serial killer,” CNN reported—yet none of this is on the national radar. It’s a disservice to the victims, who deserve justice.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own report found that corrupt border agents are so dangerous that they “pose a national security threat,” yet the Republican-led Congress has done next to nothing to rein in abuses. The federal government has already paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle wrongful death lawsuits at the hands of border officials since 2005. Yet Trump officials have sought to lower hiring standards in order to hire thousands more agents. We need accountability. We need to patrol the Border Patrol.