2 Records of Alleged Abusive or Improper Conduct where the accountability status is “GAO Investigation Closed”

April 20, 2022

A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that Border Patrol has been undercounting the actual number of migrant deaths in the U.S.-Mexico border region. (original link) For instance, Border Patrol in Arizona routinely reports finding roughly half as many remains as the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants.

Southwest Border: CBP Should Improve Data Collection, Reporting, and Evaluation for the Missing Migrant Program, GAO-22-105053 (Washington: U.S. Government Accountability Office, April 20, 2022) https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-105053.

— Ryan Devereaux, “The Border Patrol Is Systemically Failing to Count Migrant Deaths” (United States: May 9, 2022) https://theintercept.com/2022/05/09/border-patrol-migrant-deaths-gao/.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Evading Oversight, Fatal Encounter

Last Known Accountability Status: GAO Investigation Closed

Victim Classification:

July 14, 2020

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that CBP misspent much money that Congress had appropriated, on an emergency basis, for consumables and medical care for children and other migrants in custody (original link).

For example, CBP obligated some of these funds for goods and services for its canine program; equipment for facility operations like printers and speakers; transportation items that did not have a primary purpose of medical care like motorcycles and dirt bikes; and facility upgrades and services like sewer system upgrades.

GAO also found that CBP and Border Patrol location were not consistently carrying out health interviews and medical assessments, despite a recent increase in deaths in custody, including deaths of children. CBP also decided not to implement a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to offer flu shots to those in custody.

The report added, “CBP does not have reliable information on deaths, serious injuries, and suicide attempts and has not consistently reported deaths of individuals in custody to Congress.”

From fiscal year 2014 through fiscal year 2019, CBP was directed to report on deaths of individuals in its custody to Congress. GAO’s review of CBP documentation and reports to Congress showed that 31 individuals died in custody along the southwest border from fiscal years 2014 through 2019, but CBP documented only 20 deaths in its reports.

Southwest Border: CBP Needs to Increase Oversight of Funds, Medical Care, and Reporting of Deaths, GAO-20-536 (Washington: U.S. Government Accountability Office, July 14, 2020) https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-536.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol, CBP

Event Type(s): Conditions in Custody, Disregard of Public Health, Evading Oversight, Misallocation of Funds

Last Known Accountability Status: GAO Investigation Closed

Victim Classification: