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In A Rare Prosecution, A Border Patrol Agent Has Resigned After Pleading Guilty To Assaulting An Immigrant

Jason Andrew McGilvray pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law as part of a plea agreement.

Posted on August 27, 2019, at 4:45 p.m. ET

Mike Blake / Reuters

In a rare prosecution against a Border Patrol agent, an officer has resigned and pleaded guilty to charges stemming from assaulting an immigrant in US custody.

Jason Andrew McGilvray pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law as part of a plea agreement that, in addition to asking for his resignation, sentenced him to one year of unsupervised probation and ordered him to pay a $25 assessment.

Customs and Border Protection did not immediately return a request for comment. The plea agreement was first reported by Quartz.

In February, McGilvray, who was working as a Border Patrol agent in Calexico, California, encountered an immigrant identified in court documents as "BSS," who had entered the US after jumping a border fence. After he was apprehended and placed in custody, McGilvray "willfully struck BSS in the face with the intent to deprive BSS of his constitutional right against unreasonable force during search and seizure," court documents said.

McGilvray worked for the Department of Homeland Security for more than 13 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

It's rare for a Border Patrol agent to be arrested for misconduct while on duty and even rarer for them to face criminal charges. A Quartz investigation found that only two agents have been arrested for “mission-related misconduct” since 2016.

The Southern Border Communities Coalition — a group of more than 60 organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas — has tracked 94 deaths caused by border agents or while in their custody since 2010.

A 2017 report from the American Immigration Council found there were 2,178 cases of alleged misconduct at the hands of Border Patrol agents. Among the 1,255 cases where an outcome was reported, only about 4% resulted in action against the officer or agent accused of misconduct.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.