Border control has played front and center during the 2016 presidential election. But the agency in charge of enforcing border security has been plagued with complaints of excessive force and corruption for years. Culture changes have been made in the agency from Washington, and progress is being seen at the border.
Since the institution of reforms at the agency by Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, current Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there’s not only been a change in culture – but also a drop in the number of complaints. NPR reporter John Burnett traveled to the Rio Grande Valley with a producer to get an idea of how changes in Washington have led to changes there.
“When Gil Kerlikowske came in as the new [Customs and Border Protection] commissioner, he really came in as a reformer, he knew that the agency had big problems – I mean, some people had nicknamed border patrol ‘The Green Monster’ – he had to tame it,” Burnett says. “And so the changes have been slow but we’re beginning to see them now. Some of the big ones, he’s named as the head of the border patrol an assistant director at the FBI, a guy named Mike Morgan, who has never worn a green uniform…they felt like in order to get real reform they had to get somebody who was not in the old guard.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
-About new reports regarding use-of-force statistics out of border patrol
-The challenges when changing the culture of an agency that has valued exceptionalism
-More about new training on when to use lethal force