High-stakes decisions wearing CBP officers thin

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 3, 2019 - Duration: 01:41s

High-stakes decisions wearing CBP officers thin

Many U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are feeling the strain of their jobs, as some begin deciding which migrants will wait in Mexico for their asylum hearings under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy.

Jillian Kitchener has more.

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High-stakes decisions wearing CBP officers thin

With an overwhelming number of migrants packed into detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border… and some lawmakers’ detailing unsanitary conditions... Much of the criticism of the treatment of detained families is targeting the officials on the frontline - Customs and Border Protection officers.

And Reuters has learned -- these agents are being asked to perform duties way beyond their training.

Reuters correspondent Mica Rosenberg explains: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, MICA ROSENBERG, SAYING: “In addition to the already taxing situation at the border, there’s a series of Trump administration policies that have been stretching agents even farther beyond their normal law enforcement duties.

They have been asked to determine which migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. should be turned around to wait out their asylum hearings in Mexico under a new policy that was put in place in January — that’s sort of falling on the frontline officers.

And there’s also a pilot program that was put in place to train some officers to do a screening, an initial screening of asylum seekers.

That’s something that has never been done before by border agents.

That was always done by civilian officers." And immigration advocates say, border protection agents shouldn’t be making that potentially life-altering decision in the first place.

According to the Mexican government, more than 16,000 migrants had been sent back to Mexico as of the end of June — often to wait in high-crime border cities.

Some Border Patrol officers are also complaining their duties increasingly fall outside their normal responsibilities – like tending to sick children and adults in their custody.

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