Houston Matters

Homeland Insecurity: Investigation Uncovers Failures to Root Out Corruption Within the Border Patrol

On Tuesday (Dec. 15 2015), Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas National Guard troops would remain at the Mexico border. Their nearly 18-month mission — prompted by an influx of unaccompanied children pouring into the country — was supposed to end this month, but it will now continue amid another wave of arrivals. Of course, it’s not just […]

On Tuesday (Dec. 15 2015), Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas National Guard troops would remain at the Mexico border. Their nearly 18-month mission — prompted by an influx of unaccompanied children pouring into the country — was supposed to end this month, but it will now continue amid another wave of arrivals.

Of course, it’s not just the National Guard working at the border. Customs and Border Protection is there, too. It’s the largest federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. CBP enforces trade, customs and immigration.

Last week, the Austin-based Texas Observer, in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institutepublished a report examining failures to properly investigate corruption within CBP, including a few hundred cases alleging either bribery or smuggling. According to the Texas Observer article, when the Bush Administration placed a variety of departments under DHS in 2002 as a means to (as President Bush put it then) “unite essential agencies,”  the move instead created what the Observer calls a “complex web of internal affairs bodies” in “one mega-bureaucracy.”

We talk with Texas Observer reporters Melissa del Bosque and Patrick Michels about how that organizational structure may have helped motivate one office of investigators with too many cases and too few agents to try to cover up its own inaction.  

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