Metro area activist groups join call for Border Patrol investigation

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120828/METRO01/208280445#ixzz24sYxMf9x

  • By Oralandar Brand-Williams
  • The Detroit News

Detroit — Two local activist organizations joined U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) and 10 other members of Congress calling for an independent investigation by the Government Accountability Office of allegations of abusive practices by Border Patrol agents.

During a news conference by the Northern Border Coalition, the director of Alliance for Immigrants Rights-Michigan and the Executive Director Council of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — Michigan joined the coalition in asking for a “third party” probe into the practices of guards patrolling U.S. borders.

Ryan Bates, the director of Alliance for Immigrants Rights’ Michigan office, said the border patrol agencies are “incapable” of policing themselves and an independent third-party agency is needed to look into complaints that border guards are profiling people based on race, ethnicity and religion.

“After years of internal investigations, it’s become clear that Border Patrol can’t police itself. Even former agents have come forward to confirm the problems with abuse,” said Bates today. “It’s time for an independent watchdog to help get Border Patrol under control, which is why we’re so glad that eleven Members of Congress have called on the GAO to begin an investigation.”

Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said his office has filed a lawsuit against the federal government after getting dozens of complaints about stops of local Muslims and others.

The men alleged that they were handcuffed, had guns brandished at them by border guards and were subjected to “invasive” questioning about their religious practices by the guards.

“When Border Patrol targets people based solely on their race or religion, rather than their behavior, they are weakening our national security and undermining our civil rights,” said Walid. “We need Border Patrol to play by the rules, and act like professionals.”

The news conference also included statements by other immigration activists and a man who said his son was killed by border patrol agents when the family called 911 on another matter.

Efforts to reach the local office of Border Patrol about the allegations were not successful.

 

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