Immigration agency internal affairs boss replaced

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection replaced its internal affairs chief, the agency said Monday.

Christopher O’Neil, a CBP spokesman, said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Inspections Mark Morgan will lead the office on an interim basis starting later this month. For now, Anthony Triplett has been named acting assistant commissioner for internal affairs. Triplett replaced James F. Tomsheck, who had led CBP’s internal affairs office since 2006.

Triplett worked for the Secret Service before joining CBP in 2007.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Tomsheck was replaced amid concerns about use-of-force investigations of Border Patrol agents. Tomsheck did not immediately answer an email request The Associated Press sent to him.

O’Neil said Morgan will focus on improving CBP’s internal review policy for investigating allegations and complaints against Border Patrol agents. He will also work with the department’s DHS Inspector General and interagency partners on investigating complaints, particularly those focused on use of force.

Customs and Border Protection released its use of force policy last month. Immigration advocates have raised concern about border agents’ use of deadly force against people who throw rocks at them along the Mexican border.

Tomsheck’s departure was greeted as a positive step Monday afternoon by those same advocates.

“This decision should be the first of a series of important steps forward to bring CBP up to best law enforcement standards and practices,” said Christian Ramirez, co-chair Southern Border Communities Coalition.

In an internal statement to employees CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske also announced Monday that Internal Affairs would be restructured, with two divisions being moved to other offices within the agency. Kerlikowske said the divisions were being moved to “maximize (the agency’s) effectiveness.”

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