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June 11, 2013 12:53 PM More On Cross-Border Shootings

By Ed Kilgore

Many of you, I hope, read John Carlos Frey’s article (based on reporting conducted in partnership with the Investigative Fund and The Nation Institute) in the May/June issue of the Washington Monthly about the continuing incidents of U.S. Border Patrol agents firing shots across the border into Mexico, killing and injuring usually innocent people in response to illegal border crossings or rock-throwing. These incidents have created enormous controversy in Mexico, and have attracted international attention, but very little concern (much less official action) in the United States.

As the New York Times’ Fernanda Santos reports today, however, the issue is addressed, however partially and obscurely, in the Judiciary Committee’s immigration reform bill that is currently being debated in the Senate:

Its Section 1111 would require the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department’s civil rights division to develop new policies on how and when to report use-of-force actions, investigate complaints and discipline agents, an effort to clarify and tighten regulations. Often, the task of investigating agents in such cases falls to the local police department.
“There have been some unfortunate incidents in the past, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can as we enforce security to keep them from happening again,” Senator Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois who proposed Section 1111, said in an interview.

It’s a start, and also a reminder that the immigration bill includes a vast number of provisions that fall outside the handful of issues that are attracting attention and controversy.

And if you haven’t read Frey’s piece, do yourself a favor and read it now.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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