Of more than 800 complaints filed in a three-year period against U.S. Border Patrol, the largest federal law enforcement agency in the country, 97 percent resulted in no disciplinary action. “Physical abuse” followed by “excessive force,” according to the American Immigration Council report, were the most prevalent reasons for complaints, which mainly registered in Arizona’s Tucson sector and Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Abuse complaints appear to have grown as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Border Patrol have more than doubled in size in the last seven years.
There were seven sexual abuse complaints, McClatchy reports, including forced sexual intercourse and forcing females to bare their breasts. But 11 other cases not classified as sexual abuse involve descriptions of inappropriate touching and strip searches.
Federal officials say they take complaints seriously and point out they are small in number considering they apprehended more than 1 million persons during the three-year period, January 2009-January 2012.
The AIC obtained the data through a Freedom of Information request.