October 14, 2022

The acting chief of Border Patrol’s Law Enforcement Operations Directorate “left his post quietly” amid allegations that he pressured subordinate female employees to perform sexual favors. As of January 2023, Tony Barker, an agent for over 20 years, was under investigation by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility, NBC News and the New York Times reported.

Women make up about 5 percent of Border Patrol’s workforce. During his 2021-2022 tenure as CBP commissioner, Chris Magnus told the Times, many women said they did not trust the agency’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct: “Mr. Magnus said that several women described the process to him as pointless, especially when it involves complaining to a supervisor who may be close friends with the accused. ‘Too many of these guys just sort of stick together and protect each other,’ Mr. Magnus said. ‘It’s a culture of a wink and a nod.’”

— Ainsley, Julia. “Border Patrol Official Quit after Allegedly Pressuring Women for Sex, Officials Say.” NBC News, January 21, 2023. <https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/border-patrol-official-barker-resigned-allegedly-pressuring-women-sex-rcna66841>.

— Sullivan, Eileen. “Top Border Patrol Official Resigned Amid Allegations of Improper Conduct.” The New York Times, January 22, 2023, sec. U.S. <https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/21/us/politics/top-border-patrol-official-resigned.html>.

Sector(s): Border-Wide

Agency(ies): Border Patrol

Event Type(s): Sexual Assault or Harassment

Accountability Status: Under OPR Investigation

Victim Classification: DHS Employee, Female