DHS Oversight Looks At 'Unreliable' Border Assault Numbers, Decides Under-Reporting Is The Problem

from the fake-numbers,-fake-news dept

The DHS says assaults on CBP and Border Patrol officers have been steadily increasing since 2015, with a 46.3% surge in violence against officers in 2017 alone. Sure, it fits the current narrative that undocumented immigrants are inherently dangerous. But is it true? Not even remotely.

The CBP and Border Patrol are using new math to report assaults, allowing the DHS to portray patrolling the border as far more dangerous than it actually is. The Intercept exposed the bogus math earlier this year, thanks to a CBP official's inadvertently frank admission the numbers were incredibly inflated.

Almost the entire increase — 271 purported assaults — was said to have occurred in one sector, the Rio Grande Valley, in South Texas. A large number of the assaults supposedly occurred on a single day, according to charts and details provided by Christiana Coleman, a CBP public affairs spokesperson. In response to questions from The Intercept, Coleman explained in an email that “an incident in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on February 14, 2017, involved seven U.S. Border Patrol Agents assaulted by six subjects utilizing three different types of projectiles (rocks, bottles, and tree branches), totaling 126 assaults.”

What should have been classified as six or seven assaults at the most was recast as 126 assaults during a single incident. This should have prompted some Congressional concern about the CBP's reporting processes. It didn't. Instead, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs "expressed concern" about the perceived increase in assaults and asked the DHS Inspector General to get to the bottom of it.

This "concern" predated the Intercept's exposure of the bogus math, so it might explain why the IG believes under-reporting might be the problem, rather than the Jesus-like ability to feed hundreds of dangerous foreigner narratives using only a couple of larger altercations. The report [PDF] says the numbers are "unreliable," but doesn't focus on the real reason the yearly assault totals are suddenly increasing after a period of steady decline.

Here are the numbers since 2010:

And here's what the IG feels the problem is.

In response to a request from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for information on assaults on CBP and ICE law enforcement officers, we determined that, from fiscal years 2010 to 2017, the number of assaults against CBP law enforcement officers decreased from 1,089 to 856. During the same time period, assaults of ICE law enforcement officers remained the same at 48. However, the data does not show a clear trend over that time period and the number of assaults varied widely from year to year. Our analysis also shows that, for a number of reasons, the data is unreliable and does not accurately reflect whether assaults have increased or decreased. For example, although both components introduced new reporting systems in FY 2016, law enforcement officers continue to use informal methods instead to document assaults and remain unfamiliar with these reporting systems. Further, the officers do not always report acts of physical resistance or attempted assaults, even when required to do so.

Unsurprisingly, the DHS, CBP, Border Patrol, and ICE are all willing to take steps to increase the number of reported assaults. If these agencies can gain the sympathies of Congressional committees by inflating numbers and over-reporting assaults, they have everything to gain. The recommendations include more training for officers to help them recognize assaults and expanding the definition of assault to include "physical touch" or resisting arrest. If someone picks up a rock or tree branch but never uses it against an officer, that's also an assault.

This should ensure the number of reported assaults continues to increase, shoring up the administration's fear-based immigration platform. Adding the expanded "assault" definition to the CBP's bogus math, a single subject resisting arrest has "assaulted" every officer involved in the takedown, whether they were injured or not. The CBP's force multiplier can turn one strenuous arrest into a half-dozen assaults and "concerned" Congressional committees can take it from there.

The use of bogus multiplication is completely ignored in this report. Someone in Congress needs to send a letter to the IG telling the office to take a look at the sketchy math behind the "unreliable" numbers. CBP et al can't be trusted to tell the truth about officer safety until this has received a thorough examination.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:41am

    'We must protect them from people they're not worried about!'

    For example, although both components introduced new reporting systems in FY 2016, law enforcement officers continue to use informal methods instead to document assaults and remain unfamiliar with these reporting systems. Further, the officers do not always report acts of physical resistance or attempted assaults, even when required to do so.

    Ignoring for a second the novel math they have that can turn six people 'assaulting' seven into over a hundred 'assaults', the points they raise here would seem to undercut the goal they're aiming for(portraying the job as more hazardous), and undercut those doing it by portraying them as incompetent.

    If an agent can't be bothered to learn how to report on being assaulted then that shows a serious lack of professionalism and/or competence in the job. On the other hand if they can't be bothered then clearly they didn't think that the 'assault' was worth noting, such that those trying to spin the job as highly dangerous are doing so based upon claims that the ones actually involved apparently wouldn't agree with, creating 'danger' where none exists.

    And of course there's the inevitable question/hypocrisy test: By the very standards they are using/proposing, how many 'assaults' are committed by the agents involved, and how concerned are they in tracking those numbers? I somehow suspect that interest in those numbers are vastly lower on the priorities list, if it's there at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 24 Sep 2018 @ 5:49am

    That's not inflated, it is lying.

    Counting every actual attack with a different weapon by a different person on a different person would be inflated.

    But here we have 6 subjects on 7 officers with 3 projectile types and a total of 6*7*3 = 126 assaults.

    This number of assaults can only come into being if every subject attacked every officer with every projectile type at least once.

    That's not an altercation but a well-organized sports event.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 24 Sep 2018 @ 9:56am

      Re: That's not inflated, it is lying.

      I am pretty sure this was actually a rock, paper scissors tournament and the border patrol filled out the paperwork incorrectly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TekChik (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 7:57am

    Sadly unsurprising.

    Living down here, anybody who works for ICE seems to get given a wide berth. They behave like some weird amalgamation of two schoolyard bully subtypes, namely the kid who'll put a rock in a spare sock they brought from home specifically to make a flail and bust someone's skull, and the kid who'll start a fight and immediately sprint for the teacher while sobbing the moment someone swings back.

    They're legitimately terrifying people, even in their off hours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:15pm

    Aww the paperwork trick..

    It take more to evaluate the paper work then to DO THE WORK CORRECTLY..
    Back to truth in adverts..
    Why do we have 1 law, in all the books for TRUTH in Adverts?? but none for any other government concern??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2018 @ 3:26pm

    What about hurtful words?

    That should cause an increase of about 11,256%.

    The equation for calculating that is:

    BO x G x U x S x M x A x T x H

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 5:13pm

    CBP - Being assault at the border is like rape, so sometimes we don't report it.

    Also CBP - We've only hired a couple serial killers, there is no reason for concern or better review of agents... they only killed brown people so its not a problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    status (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:05am

    That's not inflated, it is lying.

    I am pretty sure this was actually a rock, paper scissors tournament and the border patrol filled out the paperwork incorrectly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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