Customs & Border Protection Launches Investigation Into Officers Facebook Group Mocking Migrant Deaths & Congresswomen
Customs and Border Protection officials are launching an investigation into a private Facebook group for members of CBP after the group was found to contain posts mocking the death of migrants and making derogatory and threatening comments about Latinx members of Congress such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).
“Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” said Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner for the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, in a statement Monday. “CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation.”
The Facebook group, which is called “I’m 10-15,” the Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” was first reported on by ProPublica. According to the report, the page was created three years ago and boasts around 9,500 members.
ProPublica’s initial report included screenshots of posts that mocked the deaths of migrants, which have been increasing recently, putting pressure on CBP. One Facebook thread involved users discussing an Associated Press photo of a Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande into America. “I’m not trying to an a$$ but I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS,” one member of the Facebook group commented, suggesting the photo could have been “edited.” “We’ve all seen the dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things…” wrote the user. Another post displayed members dismissing the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy, saying, “If he dies, he dies.”
The group was also home to several posts attacking Latinx lawmakers such as Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas). Users attacked the congresswomen for their planned visit to a detention center in El Paso, Texas, calling them “hoes” and “scum buckets” and suggesting that agents should throw a “burrito at these bitches.” In one photo, Ocasio-Cortez was edited to seem as if she was giving oral sex to an immigrant in a detention center.
“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day out,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said in a statement. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”
Ocasio-Cortez was quick to attack the agency once the story broke, accusing the entire organization of perpetuating a culture of hate and violence.
This just broke: a secret Facebook group of 9,500 CBP officers discussed making a GoFundMe for officers to harm myself & Rep. Escobar during our visit to CBP facilities & mocked migrant deaths.
This isn’t about “a few bad eggs.” This is a violent culture. https://t.co/SkFwThHElx
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 1, 2019
“How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?” she wrote. “They’re threatening violence on members of Congress. How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?”