Border Patrol to investigate agents’ ‘disturbing’ social media posts
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday that it plans to investigate agents’ “disturbing social media activity” that was exposed in a new report.
The ProPublica report found a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents that made derogatory statements and jokes about immigrants and Hispanic lawmakers.
The group was created in August 2016 and has over 9,500 members, according to the report.
Posts included manipulated photos showing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performing fake sex acts and a conspiracy theory suggesting a viral photo of a father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande was staged.
Today, CBP was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees. CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation. Full statement: https://t.co/JdPNcZz36S pic.twitter.com/9f7BgKKrgU
— CBP (@CBP) July 1, 2019
“These @CBP officials have no business representing the US government. Their deragatory (sic) and sexist comments regarding immigrants and members of Congress are unacceptable,” the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said in a tweet.
“These officers must be removed from their posts immediately, and (the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General) must launch a full investigation NOW.”
Matthew Klein, the assistant commissioner of the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility, said in a statement that the agency’s code of conduct says agents may not engage in conduct “evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice,” including on private social media.
“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.”
This isn’t the first time border agents have been called out for using offensive language.
An agent allegedly called immigrants “savages” and “subhuman” the month before he was accused of intentionally knocking over a Guatemalan man with his patrol truck in 2017.
During the investigation into that incident, authorities found texts sent by other agents using racial slurs and violent speech, according to the ProPublica.