Among the 142 complaints obtained by the A.C.L.U., only one seems to have resulted in disciplinary action: An agent received a one-day suspension for unjustifiably stopping a vehicle, apparently driven by the son of a retired Border Patrol agent.
James Lyall, an A.C.L.U. lawyer dedicated to the border, said the records not only confirmed the types of stories his office regularly heard from border residents, but also suggested that Customs and Border Protection had underreported the number of civil rights complaints it had received.
For example, in reports to Congress for the 2012 fiscal year, oversight agencies listed three complaints accusing agents of violating the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, according to an A.C.L.U. report. At the same time, the records the A.C.L.U. received include 81 such accusations filed during the same period against agents assigned to the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors, or only two of its 20 regional divisions along the southern and northern borders.
"C.B.P.'s own records paint a disturbing picture of lawlessness and impunity, in which the agency continually operates without any regard for accepted best practices, and agents commit widespread abuses knowing they won't be held accountable," Mr. Lyall said.
Agency officials declined to respond to requests for comment on the complaints...