/ Modified nov 27, 2013 8:31 a.m.

Grijalva Part of Group Wanting BP Use of Force Discussion

Arizona Democrat, 20 other Congress members requesting meeting with Border Patrol officials; agency says it will not change use of deadly force policy.

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U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva wants to meet with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner to discuss the agency's use of deadly force policies. Recently, the agency announced it will not change its use of deadly force policies despite otherwise recommended by the Office of the Inspector General.

The Arizona Democrat, along with 20 other members of Congress, sent a letter to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner asking for a meeting.

Grijalva wants to improve Border Patrol’s transparency and accountability, particularly when it comes to agents’ use of deadly force against people who throw rocks at them.

He explained using force when an agent’s life is threatened is acceptable. However, he said there is no uniform policy in place for what justifies use of deadly force.

"The Border Patrol has not been as forthcoming as possible about how it uses force in the name of public safety, and that needs to change," Grijalva said. "If the American people don't believe the Border Patrol will answer honest questions about its conduct, the mission will suffer."

Border Patrol has not released public results of investigations on deaths involving rock throwers.

Since January of 2010, 19 people have died after encounters with Border Patrol agents, he said.

"Among those killed were minors, U.S. citizens and individuals who were on the Mexican side of the border when CBP personnel opened fire," Grijalva said.

The meeting with the commissioner should happen before immigration reform is passed, he said.

“There’s talk in this new immigration (bill) that we’re going to spend $43 billion on security and that we’re going to have 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents at the border and we still have some issues in terms of transparency and accountability," Grijalva said.

In the letter, the group also requests copies of the agency’s use of force handbook.

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