WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03) co-led a letter with Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus and Deputy Commissioner Troy Miller inquiring about the agency’s recently announced efforts to revise its vehicle pursuit policy.
The letter, signed by four additional Members, comes as CBP pledged to update its vehicle pursuit policies following a record number of fatal crashes last year and several more earlier this year.
“We write today on the heels of several recent fatal vehicle crashes involving U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents along the southwest border,” wrote the lawmakers.
“As of August 15, 2022, there have been 21 deaths related to CBP vehicle pursuits, including a fatal crash in Benson, Arizona just one day after the Santa Teresa incident,” continued the lawmakers. “This puts 2022 firmly on track to be the deadliest year on record for deaths related to Border Patrol pursuits, potentially surpassing the unprecedented 23 pursuit-related deaths that occurred over the course of 2021, according to publicly available data.”
The lawmakers ask:
- What the agency’s timeline is for developing the updated vehicle pursuit policy, and when the agency expect to publish its new policy.
- How soon could CBP updated policies be finalized and implemented, and what plans are in place to train agents on the new policy and ensure they follow procedure going forward.
- What community stakeholders the agency is engaging with in order to ensure any contemplated changes under the new policy effectively respond to existing concerns.
“We are glad to see the agency taking steps to address gaps in current policy that may have contributed to such deadly encounter outcomes. We urge CBP to be proactive in sharing updates, when appropriate, on their progress toward robust, community safety-focused high-speed pursuit policies,” concluded the lawmakers.
The letter was also co-signed by U.S. Representatives Juan Vargas (CA-51), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).
The full text of the letter can be found here.