U.S opens investigation into alleged racist Facebook posts against migrants by border agents
London, July 2, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Federal officials are investigating whether agents participated in a private Facebook group for Border Patrol employees that hosted racist, sexist and sexually violent memes about immigrants and officials like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after a report by the investigative site ProPublica.
Matthew Klein, an assistant commissioner at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, called the Facebook group’s posts “disturbing” and said that the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, of which CBP is a part, began an investigation.
The posts on the private group, which says it is for current and former Border Patrol agents, included caustic remarks about the deaths of migrants, sexually explicit images edited to include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and xenophobic asides and comments, according to ProPublica. T
The Washington Post was not able to confirm the existence of the group, called “I’m 10-15,” after the law enforcement code for “aliens in custody.” The private group is not visible to people who aren’t members.
“Where Old Patrol meets New Patrol,” the group described itself, according to images ProPublica shared. “We are family, first and foremost. This is where the Green line starts, with us.”
Some of the memes shared on the group’s page that ProPublica reported on include a photo illustration that depicts Ocasio-Cortez being forced to give oral sex to President Donald Trump.
Another depicted her giving oral sex at a detention center for immigrants, ProPublica reported. On a post about a 16-year-old migrant who died in Border Patrol custody, group members responded with crass comments like “Oh well,” and “If he dies, he dies.”
One comment talked about starting a fundraising site to support a Border Patrol agent to throw burritos at Ocasio-Cortez and another lawmaker, Representative Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who were part of a Democratic delegation that visited immigration facilities and detention centers in Texas Monday.
The report drew wide criticism of the Border Patrol, a central component of the Trump administration’s aggressive attempts to stanch the flow of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, from Democratic lawmakers, including presidential primary candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Facebook group confirmed “some of the worst criticism of Customs and Border Protection,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told ProPublica.
“How on earth can CBP’s culture be trusted to care for refugees humanely?” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
The CBP’s conduct standards forbid making “abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements or gestures, or engage in any other conduct evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice to or about one person or group on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability,” including on 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,” Carla Provost, the Border Patrol chief, said in a statement. She said any employees who were found to have violated the agencies standards of conduct would be held accountable.