Late last week, new guidelines and policies about when Border Patrol Agents can use lethal force were released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington D.C. In a directive issued by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher, with the subject line “use of safe tactics and techniques,” agents have been ordered not to shoot at fleeing vehicles and have been urged not to put themselves in situations that require deadly force to survive.
In the directive, Fisher acknowledges that since 2010, Border Patrol Agents have been assaulted by illegal immigrants and criminal aliens with rocks 1,713 times since 2010. Deadly force was used only 43 times, resulting in the death of 10 illegals engaging violently with agents. In response, the Mexican government and open border groups have demanded Border Patrol reassess their use of deadly force, arguing rock throwing, a potentially deadly tactic used to distract agents during drug smuggling runs, should not be met with lethal force. What is most alarming is Fisher’s urging of supervisors and agents to use less than deadly methods to combat assault, setting up agents on the ground for failure as they try to comply with a bureaucratic process during fast moving and dangerous situations. [Emphasis below is mine]
In order to lessen the likelihood of deadly force situations and reduce the risk of injury or death to agents and others, I am implementing the following directive effective immediately, which clarifies existing guidelines contained in the CBP Use of Force Policy:
(1) In accordance with CBP’s current Use of Force policy, agents shall not discharge their firearms at a moving vehicle unless the agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances that deadly force is being used against an agent or another person present; such deadly force may include a moving vehicle aimed at agents or others present, but would not include a moving vehicle merely fleeing from agents. Further, agents should not place themselves in the path of a moving vehicle or use their body to block a vehicle’s path.
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