Updated Feb 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Acting deputy chief of Border Patrol suspended over misconduct allegations

Immigrants, most from Asia and Africa wait to be transported by U.S. Border Patrol agents from the U.S.-Mexico border on December 06, 2023 in Lukeville, Arizona.

Immigrants waiting to be transported by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in December. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

U.S. Border Patrol acting Deputy Chief Joel Martinez was suspended after he was accused of misconduct, the Washington Post first reported on Thursday.

The big picture: Agency officials cited privacy laws in declining to comment on the details of the misconduct allegations leveled against Martinez, a 31-year agency veteran and native of San Benito, Texas, who previously served as chief of the Laredo Sector, on the Rio Grande, according to his biography.

  • However, he has not been placed under arrest, the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: "We do not tolerate misconduct within our ranks," U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Erin Waters said in an emailed statement on Thursday night.

  • "When we discover any alleged or potential misconduct, we immediately refer it for investigation and cooperate fully with any criminal or administrative investigations," she added.
  • "This is the case whether the alleged misconduct occurs on or off duty. Federal privacy laws prohibit discussion of individual cases."

Zoom out: The incident comes as U.S. border officials grapple with record numbers of migrants, driven by a wider global humanitarian crisis.

Go deeper: Why the past 3 presidents have all faced border crises

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more context.

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