Congressman Adriano Espaillat Submits ICE and CBP Body Camera Amendment to H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) issued the ICE and CBP Body Camera Amendment to H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would lower standards for hiring CBP officers by waiving the polygraph exam for certain candidates who have served in past law enforcement capacities.
Rep. Espaillat introduced the ICE and CBP Body Camera Accountability Act earlier this legislative session, and the bill would require agents and officers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protections to wear body cameras when engaged in official operations.
The following are Rep. Espaillat’s remarks as prepared for delivery for today’s testimony on his Amendment to the House Rules Committee:
“Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter, and members of the Committee: Thank you for allowing me to testify on my amendment to H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act.
“My amendment would require CBP agents and ICE officers to wear body cameras when they are engaged in official operations.
“I believe that waiving polygraph exams for select applicants—as H.R. 2213 would do—will lead to questions of integrity within Customs and Border Protection. Watering down standards may also result in less accountability.
“Given President Trump’s request to hire an additional 5,000 border patrol agents and 10,000 additional ICE agents and officers, without the proper vetting, I’m afraid that we will also see mass unjust deportations at alarming rates.
“If H.R. 2213 moves forward, we need to ensure that both agency personnel and those targeted and detained by agents are held accountable and that there is transparency and integrity within the agency. I believe that my amendment fosters transparency and accountability.
“Requiring body cameras not only protects individuals, but officers as well.
“Of the 68 “major city” police departments in the U.S., 43 now have body worn camera programs with policies in place. Additionally, a recent study found that law enforcement officers’ use of body-worn cameras results in 93% fewer complaints from the public and increased accountability on both sides, thereby helping to quell potentially volatile encounters. The same should be applied to ICE and CBP agents and officers.
“Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has previously stated that he would be open to the idea should funding for body cameras be made available through the department.
“While this amendment does not appropriate new funds, the Omnibus provided $11.4 billion in discretionary funding allocated to CBP to be used for improving technologies and an additional $722 million for technology investments.
“I believe that passing this amendment is crucial in better protecting agents currently in the field. As such, I understand this amendment might not be germane and would ask for a waiver.
“I believe that protecting agents, the integrity of the agency, and having transparency is vital and important enough to grant a waiver. Thank you and I look forward to your questions.”
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Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person at Candace.Person@mail.house.gov